Archive for October, 2010

Sunday Brunch

Hi Bloggies!

Louisa’s official birthday was Sunday and we planned to go out for brunch to celebrate before my parents had to leave. Our original plan was to go to Black Market, part of the Black Salt Restaurant Group. We went to Addie’s (also part of the group) last time my parents were in town and it was excellent. So I was excited to try another one of their locations!

We drove over only to discover it was closed for a private event! Boo hoo. But a kind volunteer called over to Black’s Bar and Kitchen and got us a table there instead.

From the looks of things, their brunch buffet is the main draw, but after a rather indulgent weekend we all ordered a la carte instead. However the buffet did look rather fabulous! So I’ll have to check it out some other time :).

Sadly, all of the a la carte options were savory. I’m much more of a sweet breakfast kind of girl. But nevermind! I had the Eggs Benedict.

Quite a pretty one :).

It was really excellent. I am not the biggest fan of hollandaise as I sometimes find it too heavy, so I really liked how it was drizzled along the side, rather than poured over top. Arugula dressed in lemon and salt was served on the side which really cut the richness of the rest of the dish. Who knew such a simple dressing could be so good?

A yummy brunch in some very gorgeous fall sunshine – the perfect way to cap off a good weekend of family fun.

And NOW the new weekend is upon us! I’m headed to Bethesda this evening to meet up with my darling friend from culinary school. We haven’t seen each other in MONTHS so it should be fun to catch up.

Happy Halloween! What’s everyone being/doing? Not to be a party pooper but Halloween is my least favorite of all holidays since I am a scaredy cat and don’t like dressing up. <– lame. This year I am giving myself permission to embrace my dislike for the holiday, although I think I would still like to hand out candy to the little ones because they are always adorable :).

See you soon!



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8407 Kitchen Bar

Saturday night we tried somewhere new for dinner, 8407 Kitchen Bar in Silver Spring.

The Washingtonian recently came out with their “Great New Restaurants 2010” list and 8407 was mentioned among the 25.

“Chef Pedro Matamoros is back in Silver Spring a year after bolting from Nicaro, the small, independent restaurant he helped found. The new place is a curious do-over—like its predecessor, committed to local ingredients and doing things the old-fashioned way, from rolling fresh pastas to making terrines from scratch…”

After looking at their website’s menu, I was decided we must go there immediately!

The menu is focused on “modern cuisine emphasizing artisanal American foods”. It’s forever changing because the ingredients are seasonal and local, so the online version was just a sample. But it was full of so many delicious dishes I was praying they’d be available! And as luck would have it, many were :).

We began our evening with cocktails. Mine was a tequila/pink grapefruit concoction and Louisa had a mojito which came with a little rock candy stir stick. She claimed it was the best mojito she’d ever had!

I wish the flash was on for that pic. Some people need to learn how to photograph like a blogger ;).  

I knew the second I saw it on the menu what I’d be ordering for supper. Just LOOK at this description: Seared Scallops  – CHANTERELLE MUSHROOM-SWEET POTATO HASH. TRUFFLE DRESSING. PEA SHOOTS

Scallops? Mushrooms?? TRUFFLE dressing?? I had to make it mine :).

The scallops were massive! Our server told me “It’s a good day to order scallops” and he wasn’t lying. The scallops were soft and tender and paired really nicely with the sweet potato/mushroom hash underneath. And oh my, that dressing – I’d like a whole bottle.

And of course, dessert was essential. I’m typically a chocolate dessert girl, but there was a new Gingerbread Triffle on the menu that sounded too good to miss.

Gorgeous, right?? Layers of gingerbread cake with marscapone filling and “Red Hot” cranberries. The berries were like little explosions of cinnamon in my mouth. Although it was a wonderful treat, this is NOT a triffle. Have you ever seen a triffle like that? I don’t think so. We tried to come up with a new, more appropriate name. My best suggestion is “Red Hot Gingerbread Tower“. Consider it, 8407 :).

And after dessert, a coffee. Which normally I wouldn’t even bother showing you, but how fun is this cream pot??

I kind of wanted to steal it!

The Phillips fam:

And thus concludes our celebratory evening! One fun Sunday birthday brunch to go and we’re all caught up on last weekend, just in time for this one :).

See you then!


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The C&O Canal Towpath

Perhaps I’m (totally) biased, but I really do think DC is the best of the big US cities. Where else do you get such a perfect combination of city living, history and nature? I’m definitely a city girl at heart but also love a healthy dose of the great outdoors.

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do forever is visit The C&O Canal Towpath. Anne P.’s pictures always look gorgeous!

As my mum and dad had already spent a good amount of time travelling, I thought our plans for the day on Saturday should be pretty low-key. A nice hike in the sunny, fall weather seemed like the perfect afternoon.

I knew it was going to be pretty, but WOW.

Breathtaking, right?? This spot is literally a 30 minute drive from DC. It’s a little unbelievable!

We spent the afternoon hiking along the trail, which actually stretches 184.5 miles along the Potomac River. There are signs everywhere to warn against getting too close to the edge, reading, “IF YOU FALL IN YOU WILL DIE.” So beautiful…but a little risky! As we are generally not a family of risk takers, we turned around once the path got a little too narrow, hiking for a little over an hour in total.

A gorgeous way to soak up some weekend sun, and build up an appetite for our evening celebration meal at 8407 Kitchen Bar. Details to come!

Question: What’s your favorite big U.S. city??


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Pumpkin Everything

I just love foodgawker. It’s a great way to learn about new blogs and recipes outside of our little bubble of the blogging community. And the photos are BEAutiful!

The other day I was browsing through when I saw the cutest thing ever. Baked pumpkin oatmeal on the site Cooking With My Kid. I decided I HAD to make it for a special breakfast while my fam was in town.

If you have children, it’s probably advisable that you are in charge of the pumpkin carving. If you are a 25 year old who went to culinary school and still shouldn’t be trusted with a knife, you can get your dad to take care of that part for you :).

While my dad was carving away, I got my ingredients together.

Once everything was ready, I assembled the pumpkins, sprinkled with brown sugar and placed them on a cookie sheet to bake.

Since my pumpkins were quite small, they only needed 45 minutes before the pumpkin was nice and soft and the oatmeal cooked through.

Not only do the pumpkins look adorable, the oatmeal is especially delicious served with a little scoop out the inside!

YUM. I served the oats with little pots of milk and maple syrup for drizzling, although I’d say the recipe was pretty perfect all on its own. A delicious, nutritious way to kick off our Saturday :).

For those of you who asked, here is the pumpkin soup recipe from yesterday: Roasted pumpkin soup with melting cheese. Try it! You will not be disappointed.

And that’s my pumpkin ration for the weekend. See you tomorrow!


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The Best of Fall Food

Welcome back! Like most weekends when there are visitors in town, I have SO MUCH to share today. In the interest of your interest in my posting, I’m going start splitting looong catch-up posts up over several days. That way there’s not an information overload one day and a boring bowl of oatmeal the very next. I think it will be my new Dining and Dishing format. Sound good? Let’s try it out.

Starting with…Friday!

Friday afternoon my mum and I went birthday shopping for Louisa while my dad stayed back and cooked supper for everyone. (He likes cooking much more than shopping 🙂 ). I just had to make one special dinner request: pumpkin soup! My dad makes the very best pumpkin soup in the WORLD and I’ve been dreaming about it all fall long. It was our starter.

Rich and creamy, topped with sour cream (in lieu of creme fraiche), Gruyère, parsley and homemade Great Harvest honey whole wheat crutons. The best part is the little hunks of Gruyère incorporated into the soup. They  make for some seriously melty, delicious bites.

It was just a delicious as I remembered. When anyone asks me what my favorite fall dish is, this soup is always what comes to mind. It’s one of those things made extra special by the fact that it only can be served while pumpkins are in season. Hopefully I’ll have chance to request it again before the season is over! Or I suppose I could learn to make it myself, but that might spoil the fun.

And then came the main course.

Roasted salmon over vegetables: onion, asparagus, potatoes and tomatoes.

The salmon was melt. in. my. mouth DELICIOUS. I ate some leftovers last night and they were also melt. in. my. mouth DELICIOUS. Oh joy!

And of course, vino. A lovely bottle of Chianti my mum brought for me.

Peach pie was on the menu for dessert but we all agreed we needed a break! We spent some time cleaning up our tornado of a kitchen and watched while my mum opened her presents and cards. And thennn it was peach pie time.

The peach pie was homemade from a little charity bake sale back in Cleveland that my mum stumbled on. With the pie we had Haagen Dazs creme brulee ice cream. If you haven’t had this ice cream you MUST! It’s contains little swirls of burnt sugar that make it so much more delicious than your standard vanilla ice cream usually served with pies.

Holy food coma :).

And THAT is Friday. Much more to come! Stay tuned…


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Dressing on the Side

We had a nice evening yesterday to pre-celebrate my mum’s birthday before the REAL celebrations begin once the weekend arrives. We wanted to keep things simple since Louisa and I had to get up for work and my dad was quite jet lagged, so we just had an Italian supper close to home. The place we went I’ve been to once before, right after moving in. My roommate and I were just looking for something easy so I wasn’t expecting much – but was pleasantly surprised! It was a good option for last night.

To drink, a couple bottles of Malbec for the table. I LOVE Malbec, it warms my heart :).

A little garden salad to start…

Which led to an interesting discussion. Actually this isn’t interesting at all. But feel free to weigh in :). We have always been a family of asking for “dressing on the side“. I HATE when salad is overdressed and this seems like a good way to avoid it. But my mum said she doesn’t ask for that anymore because her foodie friend says it’s the worst when people ask for that. Which suppose I can see because it’s impossible to properly dress a salad once it’s on the plate. In fact, my salad ended up dressed in mostly oil since all the vinegar and spices settled to the bottom. SUCH A DILEMA!

Anyway, after the salad came the meal: veggie lasagna.

It contained layers of ground zucchini, carrots, broccalli and spinach. It was suuuper good but also quite giant! And perhaps quite salty since it made me wake up in the middle of the night, feeling parched.

I’m trying to get better about taking people pictures since my entire camera is usually full of food. So here’s a start!

Mum and Dad.

Louisa and Grant.


Happy Friday :). Back with weekend details soon!


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Some of my Faves

Hey Friends!

Sometimes I like to click through my old blog posts and find especially pretty pictures from past meals. And today, I thought it would be fun to compile some of my faves into a special little post. I also want to take some time to address something which I’ve been asked about it several emails and comments as of late: my eating habits.

I don’t post every meal and snack I eat on here and I never wish to reformat my blog in order to do so. I like to feature pretty pictures of pretty meals that I’ve enjoyed. Good food is something I am passionate about and it’s a fun hobby to share it through this blog each day.

I have never lost a significant amount of weight, nor am I trying to do so.  I’m happy the way I am. I know I could be skinnier, I could work out harder, I could eat more salad and less chocolate. But where’s the fun in that!? I believe my body and mind are reflective of the way I feel about living life. I like to eat healthy and I like to be active. But I don’t believe for one second that being healthy equals eating certain foods at certain times, opting for processed “diet” food and working out to extremes.

To me, being healthy is about living a balanced life full of lots of fresh, delicious foods from fruits and vegetables to chocolate and wine. I eat what I want when I’m hungry, don’t eat when I’m not and stay active because I feel my best when I do.

If I splurge one time, I probably won’t feel like it the next. I’m not perfect and I don’t strive to be. That would make me crazy :).

Don’t do what I do, do what works best for you. Food is beautiful, delicious and fun. Life is short. Just enjoy yourself!!


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