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Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Munchies: Dangerously Delicious Pies Truck

This week's Monday Munchies is another food truck venture: Dangerously Delicious Pies. The pie men and I had been dancing around another (which is to say, I kept missing them when they were by my office), until one day, on the walk to get something else, I spotted them and decided to just dive in and order one.

Pie slices are expensive here (around $6 or so), so I stuck with just ordering one. It being lunch, I went savory, and ordered the recommended S.M.O.G. (steak, mushroom, onion, gruyere). It was a good pie, and hit the spot for what I wanted, but dangerously delicious? Not quite. Still, next time, I'll definitely head back and get a sweet one.

Taste Test: ** 1/2
(out of 5)
Perfect for: That once-in-a-while meat pie craving

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Night Flights: Allagash Confluence Ale

Official Friend of DCWD Rajistan and I were having a Man Night, and had just grabbed some sandwiches for dinner. He was digging through my fridge to scour for leftover beer, when I suggested we crack open a large bottle of ale I'd been saving since I found it at Whole Foods: Allagash Confluence Ale.

An unabashed lover of Allagash Curieux, I was pretty excited for this one. Malty with a hint of spice, it was darker and more aromatic than I thought it was going to be, which was a welcome surprise, given the cold weather outside. Even the head had a nice creaminess about it, and it washed down smoothly (though I guess you have to like the flavor of malt). Nice for the meal I had.

Bar Review: ****
(out of 5)
Perfect for: Warming up the wintertime

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tosca

Plaudits: Washingtonian 2011 #33, Washingtonian 2010 #33, Washingtonian 2009 #23, Washingtonian 2008 #20, Young and Hungry's Top 50 Restaurants 2010, 2009 RAMMY Nominee, Chef of the Year - Massimo Fabbri
Neighborhood: Downtown, Metro Center

The Setup


Restaurant Week Reservation #1: the first one I made, and the one I've been chasing for a year now: Tosca. Tosca is one of the few places that offers its entire menu at Restaurant Week, and as such is definitely a hot reservation. Having seen it on my list, Official Friend of DCWD Jax called it for herself.

The Vibe

Well, let's put it this way. It's neat, definitely a power lunch kind of place, and has a great atmosphere. It also looks like the inside of an Ethan Allen. Which is the sort of thing, that you don't notice at first, but then when Jax said it, I couldn't get it out of my head, to the point that I half expected the waiter to try and sell us a dinette set. If I had to guess why, it would be the dominance of white to the decor, varying from eggshell to ecru, with the occasional sandstone and tan colors mixed in to accent. The dining area is basically one contiguous space, except for an overhanged area that looks like it can be curtained off. The floor is split into two tiers separated by a single step, with the two-top half-booths lining the walls, and the four-tops and larger in the middle. Lines are very angular, and the paintings are the kind that you might find at a... well, a furniture store.

Like I said, it's certainly nice, and the actual atmopshere is fine... it's just a little packaged.

The Food

An amuse bouche of salmon mousse on toast. Nice. Also unremarkable.

For our first courses, we both went for a pasta dish, normally full entrees, but served in half-portions as appetizers. Jax ordered a black ink tagliatelle with jumbo lump crab ragu, artichokes, and roasted garlic. I guess the first thing to say, which might strike some as obvious, but you kind of have to like the taste of ink. It's an aggressive and sort of bitter taste, and is flavorful in a way that can take over a dish. I'm okay with it, and so this bite was good, though I would have liked a bit more as far as the artichokes went.

For my part I ordered a ravioli stuffed with roasted veal, prosciutto, and pistachio mortadella, served in a red wine reduction with butter, sage, and parmesan. Um, holy crap. Sometimes, you think to yourself, does local sourcing or making things in house really make a difference? And those are the moments that life always rewards you with something as simple as house-made pasta, which in the case of Tosca is all their pasta. And in the case of Tosca is so sublime as to make it worth the meal in and of itself. This was light and buttery and melt-in-your-mouth good, with each of the meats in the ravioli adding its own complexity, and pairing perfectly in the savory red wine reduction. Can you tell I liked this dish?

For her main course, we both went seafood. Jax ordered the roasted scallops with a Jerusalem artichoke puree and a hedgehog mushroom ragu in a port wine reduction. The scallops were well cooked and cleaned well (gritty scallops are my least favorite thing in the world), but nothing out of the ordinary, which for scallops may be both a good thing and a bad thing I guess. The standout part of the dish was actually the artichoke puree which gave the dish a tangible fullness that might have otherwise been missing because of the scallops. Don't know what that means if a dish's featured protein can't stand up to the vegetable it's plated on top of, but take that for what it is.

I got a roasted branzino in a balsamic vinegar sabajon, sauteed spinach, pine nuts, and raisins. I don't know what they mean by a sabajon, but the sauce was light enough not to distract, and everyone knows I love the classic pine nuts and raisins combination, especially when it comes with a light fish. The filet itself was cooked well, with a nice crisp on the skin. I guess this dish wasn't pushing the envelope too much either, but was a good performance on a classic.

For dessert, as per our usual tradition, we both accidentally ordered the dessert the other enjoyed more. Jax's call was the modernized tiramisu, which came served in a martini glass in layers; the bottom layer was actually chilled, and our friendly and generally affable waiter encouraged her to get through the layers. A little more custardy than I would have liked, but with the contrast in temperature and texture, a good dessert.

I ordered a flourless chocolate cake with warm nutella sauce and hazelnut gelato. Rich in all the good ways, it was one of those desserts that said "I know this might kill me one day, but today, I like where this is going." Most importantly, I never thought it was trying to overdo it, which is my main fear with dessert most of the time.

The Verdict


A solid meal with some amazing highlights, especially where the pasta was involved. I'm not usually a pasta fan, but at this stop, it may be the reason for the visit.

Food Rating: ****
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Bar Rating:
Classy Crowd
Vibe:
Chatty
Cost:
$$$$
(out of 5) ($75-$100 for two)
Pairing
: Celebrity watch in the weirdest way possible, at DC's Madame Tussaud's location.

Ristorante Tosca on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Munchies: Big Cheese Truck

This week's Monday Munchies is a continuation of our food trucks series: the Big Cheese Truck. Here's a truck with a simple concept: high end grilled cheese sandwiches. You'd think that wouldn't necessarily draw cost-conscious DC workers out to eat, but I guess in the age of $15 lobster rolls, anything is possible. And both times I've seen them around my office, the lines are pretty lobster-truck-esque.

Ordering for two, I got two orders of the tomato soup and two sandwiches: one, a Chevre, with the eponymous goat cheese, tomato, and tarragon, and a Midnight Moon, a goat milk gouda with caramelized onions. The soup was less tomato-ey, and more herby, if that makes any sense, which was a welcome change, though still lacked that je ne sais quoi that I wanted to find in it. The sandwiches themselves? Well, they were perfectly... adequate. In a cost-effective world, a $6 grilled cheese that doesn't knock you out of the park is just that. A $6 grilled cheese.

Taste Test:
2.5 Forks (out of 5)
Perfect for: Recalling those days your mom made you grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Night Flights: Bourbon Cherry Old Fashioned at Diwine

How do you make a classic cocktail better? On our trip to NYC, I found a Bourbon Cherry Old Fashioned on a menu at Diwine Wine Bar. Made up of bourbon infused cherries muddled with orange, bitters, simple syrup, and bourbon, it took all the things I liked about the old fashioned and then added a flavor I loved: cherries. A fun take on a classic.

Bar Review:
3 Cheers (out of 5)
Perfect for
: People who like cherries and classics

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Againn

THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED.

Plaudits: Washingtonian 2011 Top 100, Washington Post 2010 Dining Guide
Neighborhood: Downtown, Metro Center

The Setup

Needing to both use up a LivingSocial deal before it expired, and to catch up with Official Friend of DCWD Madison before she jetted off to Africa for work (and thus miss our Restaurant Week reservation), the two of us headed out to gastropub Againn for dinner.

There seems to be two groups of people who know about Againn: people who have been there and know it's pronounced "a-gwenn," and people who are confused about what restaurant you're talking about until you spell it out for them (OH! Againn!). Me, my education about pronunciation came from Official Friend of DCWD Jax, who used to bartend there, and had always encouraged me to come for the food. An appearance in the Washingtonian's new list, and the aforementioned coupon cemented it.

The Vibe

Againn fits into the mold of contemporary gastropub: dark brown and dim, clean straight lines everywhere from the booths to the tiling, and a decor which can be described as circles and squares. Hanging incandescent orange light bulbs juxtaposed against orderly chocolate brown and black wood paneling. Globe light fixtures above the bar next to white brick-esque tiling.

Upon walking in, you immediately hit two bars: the raw bar on your left, and the regular bar to your right, demonstrating its hipness with small pedestals for bar tables and a back-lit bar showcasing the multitude of whiskeys the bar has (it is an Irish gastropub after all). Along the full windows on 11th St are the two-tops, with full booths making up the center aisle of the dining area, and the larger tables and private dining room in the back by the wall-length wine cooler.

Lastly, I've only been to Againn twice now (the time before was St. Patrick's Day, so hardly the most representative, but still), but it always seems loud and energetic and packed; our wait time for our walk-in was 45 minutes, and even people with reservations had to wait. This meant our waiter was a little harried and couldn't give us as much attention until the restaurant started dying down around 9:00. Something to think about.

The Food


Madison's a pescetarian, but was lured into dinner at Againn by the promise of its mussels, which she had eaten before. Regular readers of the blog will know that mussels are a not-secret vice of mine, and so I was probably twice as excited as she was, especially after I saw what the mussels came in on the menu: organic cider, madras curry, creme fraiche. Oh god, could you combine three flavors I love more? These turned out to be amazing; in fact, the only downside that we didn't have enough bread to sop up the juices afterwards. A sense of warmth from the cider, a little bit of a spice from the curry, and that overall smooth pleasant feeling I get anytime I have creme fraiche: perfect notes.

Her second dish was a beetroot salad with naval orange, pickled fennel, ricotta salata, spiced walnuts, and honey dressing. I didn't have any of it, so I can't comment on flavor, but the plating was good, with beautiful colors. So it certainly looked appetizing.

Alongside it, she ordered some brussels sprouts with bacon on the side (pescetarian after all, but eating dinner with a carnivore). She liked them very much, but like most times, I wished they were just a little bit softer. Still, the "bacon" here was good, more like thick cut cubes of cured pork.

For my part, I went the philosophical opposite of Madison, and started off with a sort-of stew of braised honeycomb tripe, housemade chorizo, soffrito, fried bread crumbs, and mint. Texturally, this dish was to die for, with the almost-melting tripe contrasting with the brilliant crunch of the bread crumbs. Mostly, it was the savoriness of the dish that won me over, with its rich flavor warming me up on the cold night. I could eat another ten bowls of this.

As an entree, I had the pork belly and crackling, plated on top of Anson Mills white grits, mustard greens, and roasted turnips in a country ham broth. The first time I had grits, I was like, I don't understand what the big deal is. These grits were FANTASTIC, almost overshadowing the pork belly (almost). Smooth, rich, and added a great dimension to the dish. The piece of note here is that Againn does not like when they say pork belly; unlike other places that will give you something vaguely bacon-like in quality, this is the belly of the belly, and so you'll get a lot of fat. I love that texture and flavor, but I know people who are vehemently opposed to it (on account of the lack of meat, or their cholesterol, or what have you). All the same, much like the other dishes, this meal brought with it a heartiness and a warmth that only good cooking and care can give you.

The Verdict


What's the word I'm looking for here? Surprising? Delicious? Perfect-for-this-weather? Wonderfully seasonal? They all apply here, but I'll just go with a je ne sais quoi short of awesome.

Food Rating: **** 1/2
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Suits Scene to Party in the USA
Vibe:
Noisy
Cost:
$$$
(out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)
Pairing
: Head over to Souvenir City, buy two tacky I Heart DC t-shirts and take a tour of the closest museum pretending to be tourists (an Official Co-Writer of DCWD CC favorite).

Againn Gastropub on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Defense of Restaurant Week

It's Restaurant Week, the much-beloved, much-despised biannual week where restaurants offer prix fixe menus. Official Co-Writer of DCWD CC very much is not a fan; I'm of the opposite opinion. I've said it in various entries, but to commit my thoughts to its own entry, here's my defense of Restaurant Week.

Restaurant Week is not the evil that some (CC included) often make it out to be. I will concede, however, the following points: yes, sometimes, restaurants use less-than-their best ingredients and make things that aren't on their regular menu; yes, it sometimes draws in a riff-raff that some people may not like (I, at a very recent point in my life, was probably a member of said riff-raff); yes, this crowd is a voluminous one not likely to return at that; and yes, at $35.11, it's often nothing more than Free Dessert Week.

But in defense of Restaurant Week, here's what I'll say about my view.

1) It gives me an automatic excuse to gorge myself, that is at least somewhat explicable to the outside world. This is a habit that I hide like an addiction, and only twice a year am I allowed to go crazy with it.

2) This is the third straight Restaurant Week where I've booked myself completely, so now it's tradition. And I love tradition, even the silly ones.

3) I often say that I have two sets of friends: one that finds nothing wrong with $1 Miller Lites, and one that finds nothing wrong with $15 cocktails. Some people even fit into both categories. That being said, Restaurant Week is an opportunity for me to convince people that won't normally go out with me to a certain breed of restaurant to go out with me to a certain breed of restaurant. Yes, they only save marginally, but somehow that's enough of a tipping point for them to come. And some of them, it's my first time seeing them since last Restaurant Week. I realize that's also sad, but I think it's a reality that a lot of DC residents know all too well.

4) That certain restaurants (small plates, places that offer prix fixe menus normally) aren't good deals at Restaurant Week shouldn't castigate the lot. Some places are legitimately good deals, offering up their whole regular menu, four-course menus, or are actually way more expensive on a regular basis (Adour, J&G Steakhouse, 2941, Bourbon Steak, to name a few).

5) Most importantly, I have had some wonderfully great, and some absolutely game-changing dinners at Restaurant Week before, and that gives me faith in the future. And these are places that consistently participate in Restaurant Week: Rasika, Art and Soul, Hook, Vermilion, 701, Bistro Bis, to name a few. And frankly, some of those places I might never have made it to without Restaurant Week. Yet now, I would fully recommend any of those places to anyone, Restaurant Week or otherwise.

edit: 6) Yes, I get it, some restaurants don't try very hard during Restaurant Week, and the expectation by some is that if you have a bad meal during Restaurant Week, it shouldn't be a reflection of the restaurant's quality, because hey, it's Restaurant Week, you get what you pay for (for those who were counting, I wrote the word restaurant five times). But here's the thing: in an industry increasingly dependent on word-of-mouth and positive buzz, why put something out if you're not going to be proud of it? Much the same that you'd be right to complain if a place put something on their regular menu that they weren't very good at, I feel like if restaurants aren't going to put their best effort for Restaurant Week, then why participate at all? Is two weeks of slightly higher receipts worth a load of negative press? Chefs may hate it, servers may hate it, but for restaurants writ large, it can be a huge positive if done right.

So there it is. Restaurant Week may mean different things to me than you, but I will continue burning my bank account twice a year. Unless of course they start charging $40. Then, we'll talk...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stuff My Mom Cooks, Pt. 3

Stuff I ate at home that my mother cooked while I was stuck there at the end of December in a blizzard, part three:

Bouillabaisse with potatoes; French bread and garlic aioli

Mini chicken pot pies

Butternut squash soup with green apple and paprika

Open-faced Chilean sea bass sandwiches with corn salsa

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Night Flights: Dutch Republic Punch

This week's Friday Night Flights comes via Official Friend of DCWD MM, who found this recipe in preparation for New Years' Eve. In addition to copious amounts of champagne, we decided to prepare it for the party.

12 oz Denizen clear rum
6 oz grapefruit juice
6 oz lime juice
4 oz Indian tea syrup
Dash of Angostura bitters
Dash of orange bitters
Grated cinnamon
Cardamom
Soda
Lemon garnish

Take two bags of Indian tea, add a generous amount of sugar and reduce it until you have the tea syrup (much like making simple syrup). Cool, and then mix in the rum, the juices, and the bitters. When ready to serve, add the spices and the soda and top with garnish.

The end result is a pretty amazing holiday punch, with a warm spice taste (despite all the fruit juices). Perfect for parties, especially in the winter months.

Bar Review:
4 Cheers (out of 5)
Perfect for:
Holiday parties

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DCWD Travels: DiWine, NYC

The Setup

With all of us meeting in NYC for New Years' Eve, it was our host Official Friend of DCWD MM who found us a restaurant to celebrate for dinner. So all of us (me, Official Co-Writer of DCWD CC, and Official Friends of DCWD MM, Biz, Aaron, HR Intern, Yupster, and Tantan) headed to Astoria to wine bar DiWine.

The Vibe

Astoria's sort of a weird neighborhood, so the fact that DiWine sticks out a little on its block isn't too surprising. DiWine is trendy: a slim building that's dark except for a little candlelight, with some two-tops in the front, curtained off booths in the middle by the bar, and high bar tables for groups in the back. Think Cork, but without the Pottery Barn touches.

The Food


To start, I ordered an orangesicle flip - vanilla bean infused vodka, muddled orange, egg white, simple syrup - a drink order which got me nothing but grief, but which was absolutely delicious.

As a big group, we obviously ordered a lot of small plates, each of us picking one, which got passed around quickly, so I'll give a short order of the things we ate and some quick reactions.

MM - a beef carpaccio with spinach, capers, mixed olives and shaved parmesan. Decent, but nothing to call home about. Pretty much like every carpaccio ever.

Tantan - pan-seared scallops in an asparagus cream and black truffle puree. Decent scallops, but it was the cream that was actually the winner. I used bread to mop it up just to get more. Lovely flavors.

Aaron - tuna tartare with avocado mousse. Aaron's excuse was that he likes raw fish. I can buy that. What I wouldn't recommend anyone buying? The tuna tartare. Gummy, uninspired. The low point of the meal.

HR Intern - truffled mac-and-cheese: bechamel, gruyere, wild mushrooms, toasted bread crumbs. We love truffled mac-and-cheese here at DCWD, and this matched our expectations. Great stuff.

Biz - stuffed dates with candied pecans wrapped in bacon. Oh hey, bacon-wrapped dates, ordered by the person who came up with our website name and concept. Incidentally, this dish was delicious. What I actually liked about them was that they were softer than most of the dates I've had.

Yupster - lobster quesadilla with goat cheese. This was a special and one of those dishes that raises expectations to ludicrous levels... and then disappoints you greatly. Lobster didn't have that buttery consistency that I like, the goat cheese was pretty much lost.

CC - gorgonzola fondue. Using toast triangles to dip, I think someone probably would have licked the bowl. That delicious, with that potent punch of flavor that is gorgonzola. So good that we got a second pot.

Me - foie gras with figs and port glaze. I mean, if you saw the menu, was there going to be any doubt? That being said, a classic combination with rich flavor that everyone agreed was fantastic. The sweet from the fig and the port, the savory and the melting texture of the foie... we ended up ordering a second portion as well.

Along with the two extra small plates, we also ordered two of their pizzas: a Newtown (walnuts, garlic, spinach, olive-oil infused ricotta) and a Meat-and-Potatoes (short ribs, potatoes, shallots, port wine demi). Individual people had individual concerns with these two pizzas; CC didn't know there were nuts involved with the Newtown, and was thus unpleasantly surprised, and I'm not particularly sure they added anything, and some people were just anti-potatoes-on-pizza. That being said, not bad.

The Verdict


Some bad misses, but some amazing highs and definitely a nice spot in Astoria.

DiWine on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 10, 2011

DCWD New Year's Resolutions

It's a little late, but better that than never right? Here at DC-Wrapped Dates, we have a few New Year's Food Resolutions of our own. Without further ado:

Kim:
1) Eat more fruits and vegetables, and drink more milk - I love food, and will eat anything, but when making it for myself, I usually do not include the middle row of the food pyramid. This year, in preparation for my first full triathlon, I'm going to force myself to actually eat a serving of fruits and vegetables a day (I know, but small steps, right?)
2) Cross the following restaurants off my food list: Komi, Eola, Volt. This is not a comprehensive list, just the ones that I constantly plan on planning to go, but always let slip. My own personal four-letter word list.
3) Take a knife skills class. You should see my "diced" anything. Heinous.

CC:
These aren't really New Year's resolutions. I don't make those. And I wait to go back to the gym until everyone who does has failed. So instead, as Kim suggested, we'll just call them Ninja Star Awesome Goals.
1) To try sushi!
2) Spend less on crap food. Actually eliminate processed foods as much as possible. Cut down sugar, and flour--the bleached bad white stuff! These are life food goals really. More real foods, whole foods.
3) Master making ice cream.
4) I also might want to raise urban chickens.

AP:
I'm in France for the beginning half of this year, so that will drive a lot of my resolutions.
1) Trying some "traditional" French dishes like escargot, frog's legs (if they're even still popular).
2) In general, cutting back on fat and sugar-laden things, for me especially soda and fast food.
3) Developing a more refined palate for wine is high on my list.
4) Branch out in terms of vegetables. I rediscovered brussels sprouts recently and I'd like to continue down that track.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Night Flights: Autonno Pera at Manzo

This week's Friday Night Flight is part of a series of entries from our trip up to New York for New Years': a drink from Manzo in Mario Batali's Eataly, the Autunno Pera.

A mixed drink, it features Hangar One spiced pear, brandy, pear juice, and muddled cherries. It was actually fairly light, but with a fun kick from the brandy. I'm not much of a pear drink guy compared to other flavors, but this might start changing my mind. Definitely a good drink for the cold.

Bar Review:
3 Cheers (out of 5)
Perfect for
: Classy cold autumn/winter nights

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

DCWD Travels: Manzo at Eataly, NYC

The first of several DCWD Travels from our recent trip to NYC, we start with Eataly by Mario Batali et. al. According to New York Magazine, one of the new trends in the city is the high-end international-style food court; Eataly definitely fits into the mold of the food halls that I saw on my trip through Italy.

Built into the ground floor of what seems like a whole city block off 5th Avenue in the Flatiron district, Eataly can best be described as a food zoo. Even when I went on New Years' Eve with Official Friends of DCWD MM and Aaron for lunch, it was packed to the brim and bustling in every way.

The hall is segmented into different shops and restaurants, focusing in on different foods (ex: a gelateria, an espresso bar, a restaurant that only cooks vegetables), waffling between a giant indoor open-air supermarket (if that makes sense), and a food court.

Tucked away in all of this is Manzo, the only really sit-down place in the whole market, and incidentally written about here in NY Mag. In point of fact, we kind of backed into eating at Manzo; after putting our name in for the hour wait at the vegetable section, we happened to spot three open seats at Manzo's bar.

Here, the three of us each got a drink (a Dogfish Raison D'Etre for Aaron, a Barbera red wine for MM, and an Autonno Pera cocktail for me), and we ordered three antipasti dishes. First up was my choice: crispy sweetbreads with funghi trifolati. MM cosigned on this dish without knowing what a sweetbread was, which I thought was pretty ballsy considering the things I know he knows I eat. The sweetbreads were pretty good, with that lovely thick almost gritty texture that I love about them. The real good part was actually the mushroom salad that they came on, which was much lighter than I expected.

Second came a simple prosciutto course, with green apple and horseradish. The horseradish was barely present, which was a little bit of a disappointment, but otherwise this was nice. Mostly, it was the high quality of the prosciutto that made it nice, probably the best of my life. Most of the time, I can only take prosciutto in small quantities, because it's too salty or chewy or something. But this was just that much better.

But the third course was really the winner of the day, and MM's original choice: warm calf's tongue with potatoes, leeks, and a barbaresco vinaigrette. Oh. My. God. This was a superlative dish through and through. The tongue was tender and flavorful, with a wonderful textural consistency that made me want to eat nothing but tongue forever. Paired with the potatoes and leeks, it was definitely classic flavors done perfectly.

So if you get a chance to run up to the city, among the litany of food options (of which I'm going to start tackling on my next trip up there), Eataly is definitely a foodie destination.

Eataly on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 3, 2011

Stuff My Mom Cooks, Pt. 2

More culinary adventures from the home of my overzealous mother. Thanks to the snow, there will probably be one more entry like this:

Lime marinated shrimp on papaya salad with duck bacon, sweet potato nest

Duck breast with mushroom and purple cabbage salad, sticky rice with sweet sausage

Vietnamese marinated shrimp

Beet and green bean salad with boiled eggs

Mini sandwiches of smoked trout, Boursin, and roasted red peppers

Bo bia (shredded carrots, jicama, egg, sweet sausage, peanuts, and chili/hoisin sauce in rice paper)

Lemongrass-marinated monkfish on greens with green apple

Sausage salad with sundried tomatoes, marinated zucchini, and mint

Roasted Moroccan chicken with orange and olives

Phyllo dough briouats