Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Liberty Tree

lovin' me some H street. i've given you guys my posts of both Sticky Rice and dr. granville moore's which are both absolutely delicious places. i have some a few more h street locations to "hip" you guys to (my dad's word, not mine) so that you too become just as obsessed with the up and coming h street corridor as i am.

i won't do the whole h street corridor # 1 up and coming neighborhood DC blurb like usual, just know that if you have not gotten up here, liberty tree is another reason to do so. liberty tree opened as a restaurant featuring traditional new england seafood flavors and brick oven pizza. really? did heaven just come to h street? seafood and pizza? all I really needed was them to have some mac & cheese on their menu and i really might have become the hostess there.

buddy of BOOF, lm and I decided to get out of the house one evening and head to liberty tree for dinner. I usually order in their brick oven pizza and walk the 3 minutes around the corner to pick it up but we decided to eat in there which was definitely a benefit to BOOF. liberty tree is located between 10th and 11th on H street and it boasts definitely a very new england feel inside of the restaurant with sea blues on on the walls and table clothes and dark brown furniture. the head chef, graig glufing, at liberty tree is no stranger to the DC food scene as he was formerly the exec chef at matchbox. 'nough said.

for an appetizer, we ordered the fried calamari which was good. after the calamari I had at Il Canale , I was definitely expecting a little bit more flavor and a little bit more of a kick but they were fried well; however, il canale definitely wins in the fried calamari department.

for dinner, LM ordered the atlas burger which is a 8oz Grilled Angus beef, gorgonzola, caramelized red onions. she really enjoyed the burger and said it was cooked very well. with all the new burger joints opening around the city, liberty tree offers a very classic but yet flavorful burger that does what it is meant to do, be a burger.

departing from my usual brick oven pizza (and I recommend any pizza at liberty tree), i ordered the grilled eggplant lasagna. it has been a while since this vegetarian has enjoyed some eggplant lasagna or lasagna at all for that matter, and it was a nice and well done entree. It featured marinated eggplant, fresh mozzarella, basil, mushrooms, and tomato sauce. my biggest complaint about the dish is that it had too much tomato sauce. rather than just having a touch of tomato sauce throughout the lasagna, it was drowned in a soup of tomato sauce which definitely took away from a lot of the flavor of the eggplant, mozzarella, and mushrooms.

after a few other trips to liberty tree, I am also well aware that they boast a very nice wine and beer list, so you can always enjoy one of those with your meals. and again, i definitely recommend the pizza.

my biggest drawback about liberty tree is that in this summer heat, they can't seem to be able to get their AC under control. on the evening that i went with LM, it was so hot in that restaurant that by the time we were finished with our meal, we were running out of the restaurant because it definitely appeared to be cooler outside then inside and outside it was 95 degrees. it is not a good thing when you can feel the sweat droplets forming on your forehead during dinner, gross. I thought that this may have just been a one time broken AC problem but after another recent trip to liberty tree, it was still pretty warm inside that restaurant. it was definitely cooler outside than inside and although the heat was not as uncomfortable as the first trip, when we got our red wine, the room temperature was definitely a little too warm for a red. liberty tree, i appease you to please get this fixed as we definitely have not seen the worst of summer and i really want to come back for some clams, scallops and peppadew peppers.

if you want a nice trip to new england, liberty tree is definitely your place as I am pretty certain that it is the only place in dc that is uniquely new england cuisine.

Overall Grade: B (really, the AC docked it from a B+)

Things to do: hang out with me. I would also definitely recommend taking a trip next door (!) to Rita's for some nice water ice and custard for dessert. YUM.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Casa Oaxaca

after our horrific experience at bourbon, a bunch of us were hungry (we had planned to eat dinner at bourbon but clearly that didn't happen), so i decided to throw out the option of casa oaxaca. a few months back, casa oaxaca had been featured on groupon or living social and I meant to purchase the deal but I unfortunately forgot to buy it but great buddy of BOOF, sho, purchased it and went there with her bf and they both said it was super delicious. essentially, i had been trying to get there ever since and with a group of buds who are willing to try mostly any cuisine, casa oaxaca seemed like the perfect spot for us to hit up.

casa oaxaca is located in adams mo on 18th street a little north of California. It is definitely a perfect place to go pre a night out in adams mo or just to grab a good meal and drinks with friends. after reading numerous yelp reviews, most rave about how authentic the mexican cuisine coming out of this restaurant is and i will definitely echo those sentiments. lucky for us, psuedo bigbro of BOOF, ak, also our resident tex-mex expert was in tow, so he definitely could give us the real review on how authentic this place is.

casa oaxaca has a few levels of seating, a long with some outdoor seating, but with a large group without a reservation, they easily accommodated us quickly on the bottom level. the lighting is dim but comfortable and it was actually very nice that we were downstairs because our group can definitely be a little rambunctious at times. the restaurant definitely depends on a lot of natural lighting which i prefer but as the evening hours set in, it definitely is very dim and more candlelit than anything else. the colors are warm red and yellow colors, the tables are a brown wood and the restaurant is definitely welcoming. the restaurant also features artwork from what i presume to be local artists which is pretty interesting. I do not know if I would call the artwork "good" but rather just "interesting".

to start off they give you complimentary little tostadas topped with mole and melted cheese. they are definitely a nice little treat but nothing too heavy to ruin the rest of your meal.

we all ordered various things but most of the group went with the tacos of some sort. some members of the group had the "Famosos Tacos de Borrego" which are tacos with slow roasted lamb with garlic and oaxacan peppers. Others had the "Tacos de Carnitas" which are pork carnitas roasted in garlic-guakillo sauce and some others also had the "Famosos Tacos de Arrachera" which is the Tacos with grilled skirt steak. all the BOOF buddies who ordered the tacos of some flavor were all very pleased with the flavor. all the meats were seasoned well, the sauces were not too overpowering and they flavors were traditional but yet not boring.

Another BOOF buddy ordered the Mole Verde Con Costillas de Puerco which is a Green Mole with Baby Pork Ribs and he was very pleased with the flavor. This was also one of the most visually pleasing entrees of the evening (i can say that even as a pesca/vegetarian), and the flavor did not disappoint.

BOOF buddy kk, decided to order the Mole Negro Oaxaqueno which is a black mole with chicken breast. This buddy also enjoyed the dish but it was definitely one of the more simple dishes of the evening.

I ordered the Enchiladas De Camaron Y Queso de Cabra which were Enchiladas with Goat Cheese, Shrimp, and poblano pepper cream sauce. These were so so good. The flavors were delicious, the sauce was perfectly creamy and had such a slight but perfect poblano pepper that it perfectly complimented the shrimp. I am also still on this goat cheese kick (i probably would now call it an all out love affair), so pairing goat cheese and shrimp only seems like a brilliant idea that casa oaxaca did very well. if only all mexican cuisine were this flavorful, not greasy and delicious...

because i was driving, i did not partake in any beverages at casa oaxaca but the table had the sangria and maragaritas which everyone said were very good.

All in all, after the debacle at Bourbon, we only knew that the night could get better but we were not aware of how much better. Casa Oaxaca is definitely a hidden gem in DC and if you want good mole and real authentic flavors to boot, then the casa is your place. This is definitely the best Mexican I have had in DC and even ak, the expert said that it was the best he has had in the DC/MD/VA area and it is up there with the stuff he used to get in Texas. Go here. You won't regret it.

Grade: A/A-

Monday, June 28, 2010


ok. so most people would say that i am a really really really nice person (or so i think), so this post is going to be very out of the ordinary for me.

this place sucks. a lot.

for one of our end of the year happy hours, we had planned for everyone to head to bourbon in adams morgan right on the 18th street strip, for a nice evening on the outdoor patio of drinks and good times. we essentially had members of our group that opened up the restaurant that evening and then we all started pouring in.

when me and a few other buddies eventually got there, some of our other buddies who had been there had mentioned to us that the waitress at bourbon had mentioned that they were going to need to charge us $50.00. well, we were like "ok" so when our party approaches 8 people and they make note of this again, we will chat. well, our group approached and exceeded 8 people very quickly and within an hour we were probably closer to 15 people, and by this point we were spending serious money. most members of our party were at least 2-3 drinks in and we also had ordered some appetizers, so needless to say, we were really spending a lot and they were going to make a VERY nice profit off of us. then things got crazy.

our waitress who really had an attitude problem the WHOLE night brought out her manager and he mentioned to us there policy on groups larger than 8 on the patio. the whole thing doesn't make a lot of sense, but essentially if you are a party larger than 8 on the patio than they have to charge us an additional $50.00 unless everyone eats dinner. has anyone ever heard of such a thing? we literally had a party that took up about 1/2 the patio and no, not everyone was planning one eating dinner. we wanted to drink, the place is called bourbon. furthermore, some members of our party had previously went to dinner so they clearly were not going to eat. now, most of us had originally planned to eat dinner but because these crazy people did not understand that it really was a rip off to charge us an additional $50 for our party, we decided to take our business elsewhere. like i previously said, most of us were 2/3 drinks in and we were really having a great time because they have a wonderful little outdoor patio in the hustle and bustle of adams mo plus there drinks and drinks specials are pretty good. however, after they were so fickle about their "policy" which essentially costs them at least another $150.00 that night, we thought that we would go somewhere that we were more appreciated.

i understand that restaurants have policies but this is one that doesn't make any sense. it would be different if they were not certain that they were going to make a fair amount of money off of us but if they would have just glanced at what we had spent up until that point, they would have recognized that we were there to have a good time. the only thing i can say is that the drinks specials are decent, the ambience is good and the fries were really tasty. however, everything else SUCKED. none of the various mixed drinks/cocktails were good and to not accommodate your largest party in the house? that is just bad business.

essentially, i was really disappointed. i really wanted to like bourbon but the only taste that bourbon left in my mouth was not the smooth taste of bourbon that one is accustomed to but rather a really sour, bitter and awful after taste that i never want to partake in again. also, get a new waitstaff because that one girl was really awful to begin with. smile? is it really that hard?

i should probably give them a grade of an F but I don't think I will.

Grade: D

just stay away. please. and tell your friends to stay away too.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

mint chocolate brownies

for good buddy of BOOF, ak's, final day of work, i asked him what his ideal dessert he would be. he said well "i love brownies and i love mint chocolate so i guess, mint chocolate brownies". i said, "alright, i'll see what i can do". so ak is essentially a pseudo big bro of BOOF, so i definitely wanted to make this happen but i had never really tried this before but i got to searching on and i was met with some delicious options. this is the recipe that i found from another food blog via tastespotting :


1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Mint Frosting
1/4 cup softened butter
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 to 3 tbsp milk * I definitely used at least 1/4- 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp peppermint extract * I probably used a 1 tsp of peppermint extract and it really was not too minty
Green food coloring

Chocolate Topping 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips* I used milk chocolate chips because i have a crazy sweet tooth and i know that ak does too. 3 tablespoons of butter

Directions 1 ) Preheat oven to 350 2) Microwave butter and bakers chocolate squares until melted (1 1/2 minute) and stir well. 3) Mix eggs, sugar and salt well in large mixing bowl. Add butter and chocolate mixture and mix well. Add flour and vanilla to bowl and mix well until no chunks remain. 4) Oil baking pan (8x8 or 9x9)5) Add brownie mix to baking pan and bake for 18-22 minutes. 6) Periodically check brownies by sticking with a toothpick until it comes out smooth. 7) When brownies are finished, cool.

8) 1/4 cup of softened (not melted) unsalted butter and 2 1/2 cups of confectionary sugar. 9) While mixing, add about 1 tablespoon every 20 seconds or so until it has a nice and icing consistency. 10) Add peppermint extract to the mix and taste occasionally to the peppermint taste is to your liking. 11) Add green food coloring until the color is as deep or pastel as you would like. 12) Cool brownies for another hour or so.

When the brownies plus mint layer are done cooling...
13) Melt butter and chocolate in microwave like above and frost the top layer of the brownies. Let it harden and the cut brownies and serve. 14) ENJOY and SHARE!

So. these were a big hit. however, be forewarned that they are VERY VERY rich (you can probably tell that by the directions), but they are super delicious. they are also a little addicting so prepare yourself by limiting your caloric intake in every other meal for the day so you don't feel like a complete fat kid while eating these. because you will. actually, it is inevitable. but at least you'll feel like a fat kid with something delicious in your belly. :-)

Friday, June 25, 2010

eggless peanut butter cookies

yup, its that time again for some eggless desserts. however, this is one of the easier eggless desserts that i have had to make because it is with peanut butter and if you know anything about baking, peanut butter is its own binding agent. just think about all of those pb & j sandwhiches you had when you were growing up and that deliciously sticky taste in your mouth, yeah you know it.

for that same end of the year bbq, i decided that i was going to make quick ml friendly dessert because it was also his final day at work. i had never made eggless peanut butter cookies, but it seemed easy enough so i took to that recipe and got baking.


  • 1 cup shortening ( I just used unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk ( I just used regular milk)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets ( I just usually put foil on the cookie sheets).
  2. Mix the shortening, peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar and buttermilk until smooth and fully combined.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the peanut butter mixture and mix until well blended.
  4. Drop cookies ( I roll them into little balls and dab them with flour) 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork that has been dipped in flour. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes.* I usually under-bake them by 2 minutes because when they cool, they are the perfect chewy consistency.
  5. Share and Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Orzo with Garbanzo Beans, Goat Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas and Oregano

I swear. i really don't eat out that much. i cook a lot. ask my roomies, they know. i cook a lot. i bake a lot.

well now that i have reassured myself and hopefully you that i cook a lot, here is a little recipe that i threw together. we had one of our end of the "year" bbqs at work, so i just decided to make this quick orzo pasta salad (after being inspired by BOOF buddy jds). the recipe found on epicurious called for fewer ingredients than i included, but i wanted a really hearty pasta salad and i think this added both color and more flavor to the original salad.


  • 1/2 Cups of Orzo
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 15- to 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano ( I just used dried because I didn't have any fresh on hand)
  • 1/4 of a 15-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup of halved cherry tomatoes*my addition
  • 1/2 cup of Sugar Snap Peas* my addition


1 ) Add salt to boiling water and add orzo. Let cook for 9-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2) Meanwhile in a large bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice and minced garlic clove and mix.

3) When orzo is finished cooking, drain pasta and add to large bowl with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Add garbanzo beans, cherry tomatoes, and sugar snap peas to the mix. Stir well.

4) Top with crumbled goat cheese and oregano and mix well.

5) Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.

6) Enjoy and Share!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

il Canale

before good buddy of BOOF, toochi, shipped off to China for the summer we knew that we had to get together. we are always trying to find time in our hectic schedules to hang out but it is always tough to get us in the same place at the same time. i had a livingsocial deal to a new italian restaurant in georgetown, so we finally made a date and a time and we were on the books for dinner.

il canale is located on 31st in georgetown between M and K overlooking the canal. apparently before il canale came in, there was a pretty bad italian restaurant in the same location but let me tell you, il canale is definitely not the same place. il canale is traditional italian food highlighted by Neapolitan style pizzas (told you i was eating a lot of pizza!) and classic flavors. il canale is marked by its very warm and well lit interior but it also features a nice covered roof top deck which overlooks the "canale", perfect for a nice summer evening. the interior is modern with simple colors to not withdraw your attention from the food as it is nothing too spectacular.

we started off with the frittura di calamari e zucchine which is crispy tender calamari served with a spicy marinara sauce. the seasoning and flavor of these bad boys was quite delicious. the calamari essentially stood on its own, not necessarily needing the sauce because the seasoning was quite perfect...not too much but not bland. the zucchini was also a nice touch because as all of you may know, i'm a sucker for some seafood and veggies. especially, when they are fried. :-)

tn originally ordered the Pacch eri di Gragnano which is an artisan large tube pasta with classic neapolitan meat sauce, and a touch of imported bufala ricotta and mozzarella. unfortunately, tn was not quite in the mood for what she ordered so she ended up sending it back. however, it looked super delicious...i'm sure if the sauce did not have meat in it, i would have ate it and loved it. because this restaurant is very traditional, do not expect to find an alfredo sauce on the menu. as our moroccan (random, i know) waiter explained to us, alfredo sauce is not italian at all. so only expect true italian flavors and dishes to come out of il canale. the presentation was also still lovely, and the large tube pasta is not something that i am accustomed to seeing but it was also a pleasant surprise. additionally, be a little prepared for this to be cooked al dente, unless you ask them otherwise.

i ordered the Parmigana which is a neapolitan style pizza topped with a tomato sauce, parmesan shavings and the staple imported bufala mozzarella. the pizza was really good the parmesan added the perfect amount of sharp flavor to the pizza and the crust was cooked very well. if I were to do a little crust comparison from my most recent pizza ventures i would say il canale= 2 amys > Vapianos. however, they have all been tasty, the ingredients have all been fresh and I have been very pleased.

as a substitute for her pasta, tn switched to pizza and ordered La Regina which was just like my pizza accept minus the parmesan and plus proscuitto. she was much more pleased with this option and enjoyed it greatly. the flavors were simple but classically done so there were no complaints from our end.

il canale was good. was it the best italian meal i have ever had? probably not but it was definitely really tasty, well prepared, fresh and traditional italian food. the location is really great and with enough word of mouth, this place can definitely be put on the dc map for a really great authentic italian meal. supposedly, for happy hour from 4-7, you can get a pizza and a glass of red/white wine for $9.99. I think that is a steal and without even that deal, I would definitely come back here for a nice dinner.

Grade: B+

Additional: There is plenty to do in the Georgetown area. You can shop, walk around georgetown and up the canal/down the river. You can also catch a movie which makes for a really great date night. I would definitely leave the kids or large groups at home because this restaurant definitely has more of the feel of a dinner with a good friend or couple of friends, or a date night with your schnookums.

Monday, June 21, 2010

2 Amys

good buddy of BOOF, eh and I had been trying to get together for some time now. we finally found a saturday when both of us were free, so I threw out the idea of grabbing lunch and she agreed.

being a new yorker, i am very picky about my pizza to say the least. being that pizza is my favorite food (group), i am once again very picky about my pizza. so when people tell me, that these restaurants in DC have "GREAT" pizza, i politely nod my head but really i am thinking "these people have no idea what GREAT pizza is". needless to say, it is common knowledge to DC foodies that 2 Amys serves up some of the best pizza in DC, so I was a little excited to check out what all the rave is about. eh agreed to meeting at 2 Amys for lunch as she also had never been there before.

2 Amys is Washington Top 100 restaurant along with a Washingtonian Top 100 Cheap Eats, so you know that you are supposed to be getting a lot of bang for your buck. It is located a little up from the national Cathedral so Kinda Tenleytown/Glover Park area. So the neighborhood is pretty lovely and perfect for a nice sunny afternoon stroll after lunch.

It is not located right on Wisconsin which I think adds a little bit of more character to the restaurant. it is filled with large windows, pretty open seating and it also features some outdoor seating out back. the decor is simple with just nice clean hardwood floors and tables giving it a very warm feeling when you walk in. you are automatically met with the wondrous scent of brick oven pizza when you walk in and you know you are definitely in for something tasty.

we started with the bruschetta with tomato fondattu which was absolutely delicious. although you might say well, bruschetta is super easy to make...which it is but this was more than just bruschetta. under the bruschetta was perfectly toast garlic bread with butter and it appeared that the bruschetta was place on right at the perfect moment that the bread wasn't too soggy but just the flavor had permeated through the bread the right amount. so good. get the bruschetta with tomato when you go. you won't be dissapointed.

another side comment is that i ordered the lemonade as my drink and man o man, it was so good. i didn't realize how long it had been since i had a nice tasty glass of lemonade but you can tell that this was freshly squeezed, perfectly tart with a nice sweet undertone. so good.

for our meals, eh ordered the marinara which is just simply topped with marinara tomato sauce, garlic and oregano. she also added onions and anchovies to the mix.

i ordered the simple marghertia which is topped with a tomato sauce, mozzarella di bufala, and basil.

we were both extremely pleased with our pizzas. the ingredients were super fresh and the crust was so delicious. eh was pleasantly surprised how much flavor her pizza had despite having no cheese and i was just happy to have a well made pizza with a crust that has some taste and doesn't taste like cardboard. the pizza is neapolitan style so it is very distinct from NY pizza, if DC wants to be the experts on neapolitan style, i definitely think they are on their way with 2 Amys and Il Canale (post soon to come). although it is not the most amazing pizza i have ever had, 2 Amys did a really great job. the flavors were spot on, the ingredients were good and the crust was delectable which all in all makes for a good pizza. the restaurant is also a really nice and warm set up, so you can definitely go with either a large group, a good friend or a sig other. it is definitely bustling on weekends but they get people in and out pretty quickly, so you should not have to wait too long if there is a wait.

the restaurant also features a winebar with meats and cheese accompaniments but i think that would have to be its own special trip.

Grade: A-

Things to do: 1) you should go right across the street for dessert at Something Sweet. 2) Take a stroll to the National Cathedral, sit in on a mass or just visit. it is beautiful. Some of the embassy row is also in the same area so you can also take a gander at many of those.

Monday, June 14, 2010


for good buddy of BOOF, ml's, farewell dinner, a bunch of us set out to Indique. We had originally planned to go to rasika (OMG, one day the review will come YUMMM) but because we had a large party, it was going to be difficult to organize.

we all set out to indique for a nice indian dinner and all of us have a deep love for Indian food (i mean, why wouldn't you) so all of us were a little disappointed about no rasika but still excited for good indian.

indique is located in the very nice neighborhood of cleveland park right by the metro so it is easily accessible. indique also has a newer sister restaurant that opened up in friendship heights, indique heights (makes sense), which features essentially the same menu but they also have the lovely lunch buffet, and who doesn't love an indian buffet? Back to indique. The restaurant has a very nice warm decor with nice reds accenting the interior, hardwood floors, dark brown tables, and subtle lighting, with candelight throughout. the restaurant has big windows which allows for a lot of welcomed natural light.

we were seated on the second floor and the restaurant was busy but not overwhelmingly so. i actually had a livingsocial coupon for $50.00 to the restaurant, so I was not opposed for us choosing this location for dinner.

a few of us were running late but by the time we made it upstairs and were seated, some buddies had already started nomming (yes i did just use that as a verb, not a big deal) on some garlic naan bread which was to be expected. they all said it was delicious, but clearly i had to have some for is naan bread. i think naan bread is always delicious and this was more of the same. indique has a great deal for a prefix theater menu which is $20.00 and you have your choice of an appetizer, entree and a dessert.

we essentially had some people get one of each option so i'll run through some of what we all nibbled on. many of us chose to have the vegetable samosa for the appetizer which i think was definitely the highlight of the night. it was seasoned well with a fair amount of "heat" but it also had a nice sweet chutney flavored infused in and the presentation was also lovely.

others had the chaat papri which was not a hit of the night. it is a dish that is made of flour crisps, potatoes, chic peas mixed in with yogurt, cilantro and tamarind chutney. According to our expert buddy of the night, ml (he is indian), he said that he things that they overloaded it with yogurt which overpowered the nice flavors of the cilantro and chutney. however, one of the funniest things came out of the dish and that is when BOOF buddy, kku, managed to eat ALL of it to the shock and almost appall of everyone. it was a very pretty presentation though.

for entrees, we had people kind of all over the spectrum. some buddies ordered the saffron malai chicken which is chicken marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, cream cheese and saffron. buddies who had this dish really enjoyed it and said that it was flavored well, but didn't have much "kick" to it which could have definitely taken the dish to the next "level".

one buddy had the chicken tikka mkhani which is marinated boneless chicken cooked in tandoor finished with a "flavorful" tomato based gravy. unfortuantely, the dish was not as "flavorful" as the description led on, so this buddy wasn't too pleased with the dish and wished that he had ordered something else with more spice and heat to it.

other buddies ordered the lamb nilgiri korma which is lamb cooked in a green masala with cilantro and hot peppers. although there was nothing special about this dish and the flavors were not very complex, most buddies were pleased and liked that the dish did have some flavor and kick.

i ordered the paneer mkhani which was cubes of cheese in a flavorful tomato based gravy. the cubes of cheese were the best part of the dish but there was not too much flavor in the sauce. the dish could have been something really special but instead it fell a little flat.

for desserts we were all pretty split between the rice pudding with pistachio and almonds and the mango ice cream. the rice pudding was decent, nothing special but not awful. the mango ice cream didn't really taste like mango ice cream but whatever it did taste like, it was pretty good.

buddy ml did not order off the pre-theater menu but i do remember him getting the kadai paneer which is cubes of cheese tossed with onions, green peppers and spices. i think he also ordered the baingan bhartha which is tandoor roasted eggplant cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices. he said the dishes were fine but not great and surprisingly enough, he really prefers the other location, indique heights a little bit more.

overall, indique was a decent experience. service was good. location is nice. the food was ok but i don't really think i would come back again unless it were with a coupon. i would not be opposed to trying out the other location, indique heights, but i feel that the restaurant tones down their spices to accommodate for the masses which hinders the possible success of their food.

Grade: C+

Things to do: Hit up the zoo.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


i love how all of my dinners with buddies seem to have this SATC theme to it. four girls, talking life, love and all the above while hitting up various locations throughout OUR city. i mean, it's a little different but no biggie.

BOOF buddies eh, kh (not me), cc and I are always trying to find a time for all of us to get together. needless to say, it is ALWAYS super hard/rarely ever happens. however, we all found a day and an evening to grab dinner and so we initially had planned to go to matchbox (yummm) but it was packed (per usual), so we opted for vapianos in china town.

i have only been to the vapianos in dupont before and I really do love it, but I definitely felt it was kind of "been there, done that". however, i really enjoyed the china town location. I also switched it up and ordered a pizza (we actually all did) instead of pasta, so that was also a welcome change.

unlike its dupont counter part, the chinatown location is much more open but it does lack the nice outdoor seating that the dupont location boasts. however, i always feel like the dupont location is very dark, and although it is a nice chill vibe, I did enjoy the nice natural lighting that was present throughout the whole restaurant. i also found that it was easier to find a table at the chinatown location, which might just be in large part due to it not being as busy. there are TONS of restaurants in chinatown (as there are in dupont), but everything is in much a more confined space in chinatown. also, a major plus about vapianos is their happy hour.

for those who have never been to vapianos, i really wish more restaurants worked like this. upon entering the restaurant, you are given a "card" in which you then essentially "swipe" when you order your meal. you also can do the same thing for drinks and desserts, and when you leave, you give them a card and all of your purchases appear on your bill. it takes away the mess of splitting the check various ways and adding tip etc. furthermore, when you order, you choose what type of pasta you would like with whichever "topping" but there are also "design your own" options. they make everything right in front of you, so you know that exactly what you want is going into your meal. pizza takes a little bit longer (clearly) but they are all baked in a brick oven so it is GOOD pizza.

eh, cc and I all ordered the Verdure which is topped with Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Roasted Vegetables and Mushrooms. it was very tasty and definitely hit the spot. nothing too spectacular or to call home about but it was a well done pizza with good flavors. as a pizza EXPERT, i clearly judge by the crust and the crust is tasty and airy enough but not too hard and tough. well done vapianos.

kh decided to be the renegade and she ordered the Rucola which was topped with Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Arugula and Parmesan. she enjoyed it and mentioned that it was well prepared and had good flavors.

all in all, i really enjoy vapianos and i think i have been converted to the chinatown location. the happy hour is also really really good with $4.00 house red wine, house white wine, peroni draught and pilsner draught. you really can't be that.

Grade: B

Good for buddies who are looking to catch up over an inexpensive meal or a first date. Things to do: Catch a movie at the theater, catch a concert at Verizon Center, catch a play at Woolly Mammoth theater, check out the latest exhibit at the National Portrait Museum...get the picture? So many things to do. Also, for dessert (in Chinatown), check out Tangy Sweet or Coco Sala. In Dupont- Kramerbooks.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bell Pepper, Spinach and Mozarella Pizza aka My lazy meal

so this was meant to be one thing and then it wasn’t. it happens.

I intended to make a very special pizza that i found on smitten kitchen, however, a key ingredient was no longer “good”, so i had to toss it and save the recipe for another day. sigh.
nevertheless, i was really in the mood for pizza which is very ironic (you will find out why in a few posts to come), so I just grabbed some fresh items from the fridge and went to town with my DELICIOUS trader joe’s garlic pizza crust. they make it so easy to make good pizza. god bless you trader joes. god bless you.

the thing i love the most about pizza, well maybe not the most but its definitely at the top of the list, is that you can throw whatever you are in the mood for on top of that pizza preferably with a red sauce, and be GOOD to Go for a delicious meal that you are sure to enjoy. so this is what i was in the mood for. simple but yet delicious. veggie ventures.

1 Bell Pepper
1/2 Cup of Spinach
1/2 Cup of Shredded Mozzarella (or whatever type of cheese you prefer on your pizza)
1/3 cup of Tomato Basil Marinara or Garlic Marinara or no sauce
1 Pizza crust (either homemade, one day i will be that brave) or any other that you can find in your local grocery store


1 ) Preheat your oven to 425 (trust meeee)

2) While oven is heating, roll out your dough with a rolling pin or a some sort of glass bottle and dust with corn STARCH

3) Drizzle baking sheet with oil and a few pinches of corn starch and place dough on the sheet

4) Chop up bell peppers (or whatever else you want to put on your pizza)

5) Add red sauce to your crust

6) Top with Cheese and other various toppings

7) Cook for about 15 minutes until the edges of the pizza are a nice brown

8) Enjoy and Share!
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Birch and Barley

yum. yum. yum.

a while back in early june (no biggie that i am about a month late), really great buddy of BOOF, lee was in town for the weekend. we were trying to catch up but with busy schedules, we determined that brunch would be the best option. now, both of us come from the NY/NJ area so we are accustomed to knowing good brunch. needless to say, washington DC is not known for their brunch. despite all the wonderful restaurants that DC has to offer, it lacks in one major meal area, and that is brunch. i recently came into "the know" that birch and barley, a newcomer to the DC food scene is doing brunch very well. so, lee and i decided to check out the fuss and judge for ourselves.

birch and barley is located in the logan area part of DC on 14th and it is also recognized by its uniquely distinguished upstair partner bar, "churchkey". although both venues boast many similarities, churchkey is really known as the bar (though it does serve food), and birch and barley is known as the restaurant (though it does serve drink). both restaurants/bars are relatively new to the DC food/drink scene but they are making a big splash. churchkey is already on its way to becoming one of the best bars in DC, and birch and barley is definitely on most people's lists of top newcomer restaurants.

birch and barley is located on the bottom floor and churchkey is on the top floor (that review will come at a later date). the restaurant is not really a large space (actually quite small) but with the modern decor and well-placed tables, you don't feel as though you are eating on top of your co-patrons. the ceilings are high, the colors are warm and the restaurant is well lit, so it definitely has a nice young professional vibe to it.

not only is the brunch all day (11 am-8pm) but they boast a great "boozy" brunch deal: fresh donut holes, 2 brunch cocktails, an entree, and a bottomless iced tea or coffee. although lee and i didn't get this deal, it seems like a win win situation to me in the future.

lee ordered the amish hen egg omlet served with goat cheese, spring asparagus, and hashbrowns. lee switched the asparagus for a simple salad but she said that it was really good. the flavors worked well, the omlet was filling, and the hashbrowns were seasoned well without being fried too intensely.

i ordered the Grand Marnier French Toast topped with Early Glow Strawberries, Mascarpone, and Bacon. Although I don't believe in changing the chef's intended recipe, I LOVE French Toast and was really craving some so I asked for that to be taken off. However, instead I ordered a side of Stone Ground White Grits with Grafton Cheddar. Now, lucky me, they were testing out an addition to the french toast which was slivered almonds. They asked if I minded and are you kidding me? Really? I LOVE peanuts, walnuts, pecans, name it. I felt so privileged to be trying their new recipe. The french toast was delicious. In my opinion, my mom makes the most wonderful French Toast in the world, and though this is not my mom's french toast, this french toast was very very good. I do believe that they should definitely stick to the almonds with the strawberries and marscapone creme because the rest of the french toast can get soggy (to be expected), but the crunch of the nuts really balances out the inevitable sogginess.

the grits. yum yum yum yum. so good. my dad is super southern so he really believes in making good cheese grits and these were definitely on par with any southern cheese grits that i have ever had. they were not too watery or salty, but they had the perfect balance of cheesy flavor with a nice peppery kick. I would be tempted to go there just to order the grits, no lie.

all in all, i really enjoyed my trip to birch and barley. i hear that their dinner is also very good, so i would love go their for dinner as well. but birch and barley definitely are in the top 5 for best DC brunches...soon enough, they may be at # 1. watch out tabard inn.

Grade: A-

Things to do: there are a ton of exhibits in the logan circle area so that can easily take up an afternoon. also, logan circle is a really nice park itself, so you can just go for a walk in the area or play some games with some friends on the greenery. the restaurant is also only located a few blocks up from u street, so you can definitely take in a show at lincoln theater or u street music hall, to name a few.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

whole-wheat pasta salad with grilled zucchini and olives

for good buddy of BOOF, ea’s farewell party, I decided to conjure up a nice little summer pasta salad. i usually default to pasta salad for most summer soirees primarily because 1) they are easy to make and 2) who doesn’t like pasta salad?
i had some ricotta in the fridge that i needed to use before it went bad, so I did a little pasta and ricotta search on epicurious and found this quick and easy recipe.

1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil (preferably extra-virgin) plus additional for brushing zucchini
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 pound whole-wheat penne or other tubular pasta
2/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, chopped coarse* I didn’t chop mine, just added them whole.
6 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese, diced
1 1/2 cups whole small or torn large fresh basil leaves* Ehh, i just used dried basil.

1) In a large bowl gently stir together tomatoes, onion, garlic paste, vinegar, and 1/4 cup oil

2) Brush one side of zucchini slices lightly with additional oil and season with salt and pepper.

3) Heat a well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderate heat until hot and grill zucchini, oiled sides down, in batches, brushing tops with more oil before turning, 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until just tender but not soft. Transfer zucchini as grilled to a small bowl.* If you have a grill, that’s an even better option. :-)

4) In a pot of salted boiling water cook pasta until just tender and drain well.

5) Add hot pasta to tomato mixture and toss well.

6) Cool pasta slightly and stir in zucchini, olives, ricotta, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.

7) Enjoy and Share!
Additional Notes: Serve pasta warm or at room temperature.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Jazz in the Sculpture Garden

before best buddy of BOOF, ea, left for her venture into the peace corps, we decided to do a well-loved “DC” thing and hit up the summer series of jazz in the sculpture garden. being the only the second weekend of the summer series, we expected crowds but not to the level that we saw.

let me tell you a story. once upon a time in the summer tourist haven that is DC, there was a sculpture garden. to the locals, the sculpture garden is a nice place to go for a walk through on a nice spring day or fall day with a group of friends or a significant other and check out the cool sculptures (the Lichtenstein House is my faveee). In the winter, it becomes a source of winter fun with its ice skating rink right in the middle of all the sculptures. however, although my tourists new of this little gem tucked in our beloved city, they never knew about our secret. unfortunately, some one spilled the beans. the secret is out. throughout the summer months, various jazz acts from all around the country grace this beautiful sculpture garden on friday evenings for a wonderful jazz concert.

it used to be a much smaller showing where everyone brings out snacks, wine, blankets, and takes in the good music vibes and good company of their buddies. however, on this second week of jazz in the sculpture garden for the summer 2010 season, it was packed. packed. essentially, jazz in the sculpture garden has morphed into “DC’s Largest Outdoor Happy Hour”. although it is still a really fun scene, you can’t even hear the jazz anymore and you must arrive promptly at 5pm to even be guaranteed a tiny spot of grass to sit on. you now will bump into everyone you know, even those “friends” who you “forgot to invite” or people who you really just don’t want to see at all.

many buddies have observed that hopefully it was only this packed because it was the first couple of weeks, however, i really don’t foresee it getting much calmer with july 4th around the corner and then the prime time tourist months. despite the ridiculous crowds there are still so many great things that this event has to offer.

1) it is still SUPER fun. yes, it is packed. yes, you can barely hear the actual “jazz”. but with a good group of buddies, good snacks, good wine (or sangria and spinach dip from the classiest outdoor museum concession stand in the country), you will have a stellar time.

2) world class jazz artists for free. really? enough said.

3) the largest dc outdoor happy hour. it’s just pretty cool and fun to be apart of it. to see such a wide variety of people both young, old, awkward, hipster all come together for a very uniquely “DC” experience is really quite awesome.
all in all. definitely go. i’ll be back again. but just be prepared because it may not be quite as you remembered.
Overall Grade: B+

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Well-Dressed Burrito

best burrito in DC? it's a far cry from it.

after hearing rave review after rave review, i thought that I would convince my co-workers to take a bite out of what is referred to as the "best burrito in DC". now, mind you, one of my BOOF buddies, ak, is the resident expert on burritos as he has spent a fair amount of time in texas where burritos reign supreme. the best burritos most of us have had come from chipotle or qdoba, therefore, we were all in anticipation of burrito deliciousness from the well-dressed burrito.

the well-dressed burrito is in located in an alley, yes an alley, south of dupont circle. the line out of the restaurant/take out spot is known to come all the way out of store and down the alley. it is only open mon-friday during lunch time, so if you live outside of the area, it is almost impossible to get there for this burrito. you definitely feel like you are apart of something special as you venture into this alleyway and open those large doors. the name is not really even apparent on the store, there is just a small picture of a penguin. yes, a is apparently their moniker.

so after all of that, we were excited to get these burritos. we drove all the way across town during lunch to pick them up and bring them back to indulge in what was supposed to be an unforgettable experience. so yeah, it was very much forgettable. BOOF buddies ak and rm got the grilled chicken burritos while me and ml (the other veg buddy) ordered the sauteed veggie burritos (with spinach). we were all very much overwhelmed. because ak is the burrito expert he was really really unpleased with the final result and even prefers the burritos from the popular tex-mex chain, chipotle, to this well-dressed burrito. they said that there chicken was dried, there was no sauce sauce that gave it an extra spice and the meat was seasoned subpar.

both ml and i thought the veggie burritos were ok but we were definitely underwhelmed. i liked the variety of veggies that they included (carrots, broccoli), but it lacked seasoning again and there was no real "kick" to the burrito. I would take qdoba and chipotle over well-dressed any day.

sm opted to not get the burrito and opted for the chimichanga (you could actually consider her a chimichanga connoisseur of sorts), and she said it was decent but not the best she has ever had and there was nothing too special about it. the best thing of the meal may have been the guac that we ordered which was nice, fresh and tasty. they also accidentally gave us a bean and cheese burrito (well, actually...we ordered it, changed our order, they never took it off the order, charged us for it and then gave it to us anyways), so all of us took a bite of that which was also decent but nothing to write home about.

a couple of positives (because i am a REALLY nice person :-D):

1) the scene. it is pretty cool to walk down an alley and feel like you are going to some sort of hidden gem for lunch that only a few people are privy to.

2) it's really cheap. dc is an expensive city to say the least so be able to get a quick (service is VERY good) and really cheap meal (under 6$), that is definitely a plus.

3) size: it is a really big burrito. it is definitely "well-dressed" in terms of all the stuff they put on it. i had a whole half of a burrito for dinner that night too.

overall: after reading some additional reviews, many people mention that the burritos may not be the best thing on the menu and to try their tacos, taco salads and other things. HOWEVER, i do not know how i feel about this because they are called the "well-dressed burrito", so their burritos SHOULD be the best thing on the menu.

Grade: C

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