Category Archives: Outside DC

Well Branded Austin

I wish I could say I just got back from a great weekend in Austin, but that wouldn’t be the truth!  It’s actually been months since I visited the great state of Texas where yes, everything is just bigger.  It was a quick weekend visit to see the hubby who was working out there for a while and then due to the hurricane in DC, I had to catch an even earlier flight home before the storm.  Below are some of my favorite examples of the clearly defined branding that flocked building all around the city.Austin

AND it wouldn’t be a trip to Austin without some serious tacos (including a visit to the trailer park for queso), new (to me) cowboy boots and a visit to the underside of the bridge that fills with bats… only during the day!Austin2

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Filed under Food, Outside DC, travel

Real Parties: Under the Sea!

Kate and I had a blast putting together all of the cute little touches for our sister’s baby shower a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t wait to share the final pics with you.  We went a little overboard with the theme, but our sister was so surprised and thrilled with all of the fussing!  My favorite part was the two color letterpress in coral and pool invitation that Haute Papier (warning – shameless self-promotion) created just for her, though I think the mom-to-be’s were all of the clear balloon that looked like bubbles, including the giant ones that were three feet wide!  Now, we just need to be patient for another few days until this baby gets here!  Congrats to Ash & Darryl on the little miss!

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Filed under entertaining, Food, kids, Outside DC

Mardi Gras… a little late!

I surprised my husband with a trip to New Orleans the first weekend in February, which happened to be the start of the Mardi Gras celebration in the Crescent City!  From fried oysters with brie at Clancy’s to Muffulettas at Cochon Butcher to a new retail vendor for Haute Papier in The Stationer New Orleans to macarons and king’s cake at Sucre to the irresistible beignets at Cafe du Monde, it was a wonderful glutenous and relaxing trip!

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Cafe du Monde Beignets

I’ve been saving this one for ya… After a trip to New Orleans at the beginning of February, I knew I had to wait until today – Fat Tuesday – to share this recipe inspired by the deliciousness beyond coasted in powdered sugar from Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans’s legendary bakery.  Bon Appetit!

Cafe Du Monde Inspired Beignets
makes about six dozen

1 envelope active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115F)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
6-7 cups bread flour
vegetable oil for frying
sifted powdered sugar Continue reading

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Filed under baking, breakfast, dessert, Food, Outside DC, Recipes, travel

Home!

The weekend before last, we headed north to my home 30 minutes South of Buffalo for the First Annual Meyer Harvest Patch Bash!  And after a quick, but fun-filled couple of short days there, we headed back to DC with a car overloaded with produce from the farm… my favorite at the moment, the delicious and beautiful (they’re currently in a huge silver bowl on my coffee table) turnips that my darling husband dug up for me!  Stay tuned tomorrow for a recipe for the hit of the weekend… Caramel Apple Bourbon Butter!!!

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From the Kitchen of: Kumar Iyer

Today’s Chef Feature comes from Rangoli’s Executive Chef and Owner, Kumar Iyer.  I recently visited this hidden gem in South Riding and had the best Indian meal I’ve ever eaten.  The Bombay Burger is straight from the streets of Bombay – it’s a delicious potato/garlic/cilantro patty lightly fried with a gentle crunchy crust served on a slightly sweet, but super light roll.  And don’t miss the Gulab Jamun – the hot/cold Indian classic of warm milk-based dough balls in a honey syrup with ice cream – it’s unbelievable!

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
Favorite tool would be the knife, as we use them the most, our restaurant is not very advanced to use modern gadgets. But I’ll say the ‘Wet Grinder’. Wet grinder because it’s unique to Indian kitchens; we use them to grind pre-soaked rice and lentils to make crepes (dosa) and steamed savory cakes (Idly).

What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
Small plates and foam dishes.

If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
Deli sandwich/subs, soups and frozen yogurt.

What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
Fruits like watermelon, mango and strawberries when in season. I like ‘restaurant depot’ a lot more for prices than the product; the reality is – staying in business is as important as dishing quality food.

What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
Service level expectations, especially Asian customers. I’ve had a guest tell me just yesterday, I didn’t spend as much time on his table as I spent with few others.

What do you drink/eat after work?
A chilled beer and home cooked food.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Dal Tadka and Roti.

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Filed under Ethnic Food, Food, Interview, Outside DC, Restaurants

In Print: Clips from Food Sections

5. – The Chicago Tribune All About Ribs “In barbecue season, the butcher’s case is bulging with pork ribs. Baby back ribs, spareribs, country ribs, rib tips, St. Louis cut ribs, riblets, rib chops, rib roasts, baby spareribs, button ribs, Danish ribs and loin ribs (across the street, there are McRibs). The prices range from $2 to $8 a pound. Here’s what you need to know about the most popular cuts before you fire up the grill.”

4. – The Boston Globe Pickle Craft “I’m still obsessed with pickles. I am not alone. There is a pickle of the month club. A Facebook page for pickles has 6,110 fans (some of whom make comments not suitable for work). If you Google “obsessed with pickles,’’ a) you are obsessed with pickles yourself, and b) you will find you are in good company. Not that you need Google to tell you this if you’ve eaten in a restaurant in the past few years.”

3. – The LA Times Fruit Pies Perfected “It came still warm, its sugar-dusted crust glittering in the sunlight through the front window, the light, flaky exterior quietly shattering under the fork with each bite. Underneath, the rich berry filling oozed slightly — the thick, sweet glaze cradling tender, slightly tart berries that seemed to pop with every mouthful. It was magical.”

2. – The NY Times Gelatin Makes Wine Go Wobbly “Nature makes some good products, but when you are 10, what the food companies do is awesome. Nothing in the plant or animal kingdoms can rival the wonder of Tang, the astronaut’s orange juice. It has little in common with fruit juice. If it tasted more natural, there would be no point in pouring it into the palm of your hand and licking it. The rush of sugar and citric acid was intense enough to blot out all other sensations for a moment, and for that trip to sensory bliss I would now like to thank my mother, the space program and the entire era of American food history from the 1950s through the 1970s.”

1. – The Washington Post A Sundown Supper on the Grill “I knew the heat had gotten to me when the mere sight of my partner putting the kettle on for Saturday morning coffee sent me into hyperspace. Apparently he hadn’t received the No Stove, No Oven, No Way! memo.”

Photo from The Chicago Tribune

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