A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Monday, May 30, 2005

BBWE

Quite possibly the best birthday weekend ever. Especially food-wise. The meal highlights thus far: The delicious Piccolo Bollito at Palena for lunch Saturday -- corned Kobe style beed served with a poached quail egg, an amazing green herb sauce, and three of the best pieces of asparagus I've ever had; an absolutely phenomenal (we're talking top 3 for the year here people if not #1) dinner at Pazo Saturday night; Scott's delicious East Cackalacka pulled pork last night... good God, it's entirely possible that 26 is the year I get totally fat (again). Awesome.

More details, hyperlinks, etc., later. I've been packing all day and am now off to Tunnis for a beer, followed by half price burgers and wine at Chef Geoffs downtown. Oh half price wine, you are the bestest.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Some Thoughts on Turning 26

25-26 was a good year for me. Fitter, happier, more productive (a pig in a cage on antibiotics, yes yes, I know, but the shoe fits). Of the post collegiate years, I think this year I really started getting comfortable in my adult skin. That's not to say there wasn't drama... but this past year, the latter half especially, have been very good.

Of course, there's a different side to this introspection. Since Dad and I share a birthday, my not-insignificant father issues are magnified tenfold on May 27. So I can't help but compare myself. At 26, my father was successful in the eyes of his parents -- living in America on his own, married and working hard. No matter what the reality of the situation, its the "in the eyes of his parents" that interests me. Am I there yet? I hope so.

I could go on and on. Birthdays are great days where incessent navel-gazing is perfectly acceptible. And truth be told, they are the days when I personally get much more introspective than usual. But on this blog, I'll pass. I had written (again, internets, saving me by eliminating earlier thoughts virtually palimpsest free) a much longer, stupider, more annoying "thoughts about 26" post, but I don't think that is necessary.

One thing though: mom would be proud of me. I actually cut my nails, shaved, am getting a haircut, and wore a new shirt on my birthday. It's either a family thing or a weird Hindu thing. In any case, it felt good to do so.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Can't Use the Word Haterade, its Too Cookie Cutter

The ridiculous 35 odd comments on The Weekly Feed are kind of annoying. But at the end of the day, its really silly to care since 1/4 are from the same person and there are plenty who agree with me about Lauriol Plaza.

Oddly enough, what really gets my goat is that no one else has said anything about the lack of Ethiopian restaurants on the Cheap Eats list. That gets me very mad -- heck, I resorted to using boldface when making that point. We've got the corner on one type of cuisine in this city, and it gets resoundingly ignored by a Cheap Eats column.

Here's my theory: The Washingtonian is racist. Blanket statement of the year; I'd actually written something originally about that idea, but it wasn't the tone I was looking for in my Weekly Feed. Still, I'm starting to believe that statement. Yes yes yes, tons of Asian and Central American restaurants were on their list -- but the giant hole on the culinary map where Africa should be is alarming. (I don't think South American or other African cuisines have the critical mass in the area for me to make an equivalent point.) Okay, this is only a half formed thought. Will keep thinking about it. Not on to anything big, but certainly there is some merit to the thought that since The Washingtonian skews so rich and white, they're loathe to send anyone to 9th and T NW.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Lost and Delerious

I require approximately 48 hours and many cigarettes to fully process tonights season finale of Lost, but here are some semi-spoiler free quick observations or questions.

First 15 minutes with the dynamite: who else called it?

How did Kate keep her eybrows so perfectly whilst trapped on a deserted island? At least Shannon was looking a little more disheveled, and Claire even more so. But Kate (and I heart Evangeline Lilly): please ask for some versimilitude cream next season.

I secretly hope that Hurley becomes something other than comic relief next season.

The last scene with the boat was somewhat predictable and at the same time gut wrenchingly awesome, as were most of the cutaways to the back story -- with the exception of Hurley, yet again, as comic relief.

The resolution of the Rousseau plot was well done, though I'm thinking the viewer is being hosed by the shot of Charlie's bag.

Parting shot: holy frijoles.

In conclusion: Solid A minus, but it kind of feels good to have my Wednesdays back. Anyone other Lost fans have thoughts? Eager to hear them.

That's the Sound of My Arteries, Oohing and Aahing

Last night on the way to Bluestate I stopped in at Oohs and Aahs (note: spelling of restaurant's name is not known at this point. Different sites have spelled it differently; am currently investigating) for some soul food. The power to eat had returned to me, and given the weather outside, I had a hankerin' for what others have described as "heavenly" macaroni and cheese. Problem is, I'd heard that the restaurant isn't the easiest place to grab a seat (they only have six). No matter. I had some back up plans just in case I couldn't get a seat, assuming that Saint-Ex would frown on me bringing in outside food. But my worries were unfounded, and I snagged a chair just before a group of six hopefuls walked in the door. Sorry guys, this seat is taken.

I ordered the fried chicken combo with collard greens and macaroni and cheese. Unfortunately, they were out of greens so I replaced them with green beans. These were probably the low point of the meal, watery and overcooked. I'm curious as to what the greens are like. The chicken, on the other hand, was delicious -- freshly fried and blisteringly hot. I felt the need to slather hot sauce all over them, but that's because I'm a total hot sauce mark. The dish also came with a piece of warm and fresh cornbread with a healthy dollop of butter. Probably the second best part of the meal.

But the mac and cheese, holy cow. This was some macaroni! Perfectly gooey, warm, and delicious. There was no debate that the hype on this putative side dish was right on. Were I a specific someone, say, six years younger and eight inches shorter, I would have been in complete and utter heaven. This wasn't fancy mac with upstate NYC cheddar or some odd combo of cheeses. This was down home mac. Not to say there isn't room in the market for the former, but sometimes you want something really rib-sticky and less frou frou. I was a happy man -- and $14 later, walked out with enough left over for lunch today.

Also: India, one of the proprietors of Oohs and Aahs, is gorgeous -- and loves talking to her customers. That didn't hurt, natch. Also, everyone at the counter spoke with everyone else. We got into a discussion about boxing, which morphed into horse racing, which morphed into discussing whether sports are fixed nowadays. Some interesting opinions, and the convo really gave the place a personality that I enjoyed.

The other bit about Oohs and Aahs I'll leave for DCist tomorrow, where I'm debuting a new weekly column oh-so-creatively titled "The Weekly Feed." Grass came up with the idea of compiling info from the local food message boards, the various other food bloggers, and the Wednesday food section in the Post into one weekly column. Great idea; lets just see how long the content stays interesting. I've got four, maybe five good bits for tomorrow. Will probably be trolling the net to figure out more content soonish.

Next Up, Pink Floyd Reunion Tour Featuring Syd Barrett

Last night despite persistent feelings of exhaustion and a general sort of malaise, I headed out to Saint-Ex to check out BlueState do their thing. Less dancy than the weekend shows of theirs I've been to, but still a good and enjoyable night. The odd part for me: I didn't have a drink. And I was at a bar. This is easy for some people, but not I. But you know, last night I just wasn't feeling like it and stuck with club soda and water. Good for the wallet, good for the liver. And you know what? As head hit pillow last night I felt good. As head rose from pillow I realized that a) all the sickness had migrated into a single knot in my left shoulder and b) I still felt kind of crappy.

The shoulder thing proves to me that this is all probably stress related. So I'm trying the good posture thing in my cube today (shoulders back, neck straight...). Hopefully tomorrow I'll have full range of motion back.

There's food content coming. Went to Ooohs and Aaahs last night for dinner, and folks its the real deal. That's some good mac and cheese. More details on that, and the braised short ribs, to come.

Alternate title to this post: Someone get Lucifer a Jacket!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Craigslist Experiment

An anonymous lurker asks for details re my Craigslist date Friday night. I'm afraid I can't provide anything interesting. I'm working on a full review of Sonoma for DCist, so you can read about that there when its done (tentatively, tomorrow). As for the date itself? It was just... okay. Not good, not great. Decent conversation, pretty girl, all good things -- but that spark, the chemistry, it just wasn't there. Add to that the fact that she lives and works in Bethesda and probably dislikes men who smoke and, well, there you are. Odds of me calling her to hang out again? 50/50. Still, it was pleasant to go on a blind date and have it not end in drunken groping or strong feelings of "that was a waste of my time and money." Yes, the former sounds fun, but really, it gets very boring after a while (and has, in 75% of my experience, been a bad idea).

To be put in the Odd Coincidence File (that thing is getting very thick): As I was walking down Connecticut Ave. to Mike's house post-Star Wars Saturday, I ran into the date. She was going to the zoo with some friends. We were both cordial and decidedly non-committal as to whether seeing each other right after the first date was a good thing.

My horrendous grammar in the first paragraph has been corrected. Dude, has today been crap or what?

The Best Way to End Your First Quarter Century...

Is by getting sick! Awesome. I couldn't keep food down this morning, my head is throbbing, there's an odd viscous fluid in my lungs, and the weather outside is about as close to May as truffles are to petroleum jelly. Am at the office, but only barely. Called in sick and realized I'd be even more miserable wasting the day away at home.

Oh, and I have to teach tonight. Am certainly not looking forward to it. But in keeping with tradition, I will also go out tonight, to Bluestate at Saint Ex. Why?

Why not?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Olfactory Siren

Oh holy jeez. I don't want to eat the braised short ribs I made tonight (shortribs, garlic, onion, baby yukon gold potatoes, celery, zinfandel, chili powder, worcestershire, kosher salt) until it has sat to mellow for a day or two. But that smell, holy jeez... its filling my house like the popcorn in Real Genius. Must... resist... call... The path to true deliciousness is via Patience Boulevard.

Side note: Did you know Mitch from Real Genius is still working? Guess remaining employed is kind of a "moral imperative." (bonus points, all you mini Laszlo Hollyfelds!) Now if I could only track down the whereabouts of that chick from Can't Buy Me Love...

UPDATE: I tried a bit of the potato as I was moving the short ribs from Dutch oven to tupperware... and am regretting it. So very delicious. And I have to wait until Wednesday due to prior commits. Argh. One plus: scrumptiousness plus two hours of Lost? I am so there.

Next stop, Randle Highlands

Allow me to make a suggestion: Do not fall asleep on a bus. Especially a south/east bound bus in the 90 series. Why, you ask? Because you'll end up at 56th and East Capitol Street at 3 in the morning on a Saturday. I toyed briefly with the idea of disembarking the bus and walking home just as I realized the bus was crossing the river but smartly decided it wasn't worth it. So I just went along for the ride, seeing parts of the city I'd never seen before, absorbing local color. On the ride I realized why I had never seen Ward 7 from beyond the confines of my Honda before: there ain't much to see.

But at least in that situation I had the illusion of security, trapped inside a Metrobus. Last night on the way back from a DCist meeting and drinks at Poste I decided it would be fun to try the walk from the NewYoFlaGal metro stop back home. Instead of getting home slightly faster than getting off at Union Station, I ended up lost in Trinidad at 11 PM, exuding ridiculous yuppitasticness via the Urban Outfitters bag in my hand and sensibly-sized t-shirt. I came out of the walk unscathed, but with a renewed feeling of my life's value. And by "renewed feeling of value" I mean shin splints.

So anyway, I'm alive. And I bought a hot new shirt! Its that time of year again. I somehow magically become a year older instantaneously, I kick off the madness that always characterizes my summers, and this year as a special added bonus, I move. Should be a fun ride.

Short notes: new Star Wars, good. Pizza at Vace, okay. PBR, still cheap, still delicious. Taking the day off because weeks of stress have rendered you immobile on a Monday morning, priceless.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Patching a Lacuna with Pepperoni

I've never written here about the food at Tunnis. Strange considering I have on average 1-2 meals there a week. The reasoning? Probably the fact that the food at Tunnis is just on the right side of mediocre. Sure, the brunch dishes are satisfying and some of the entrées are good, but overall Tunnicliffs Tavern is not a spot I'd send someone looking for a good food recommendation.

That said, I have to recommend one choice at Tunnicliffs for those who have occasion to visit: the pizza. This ain't Two Amy's, but the pizza at the bar is one of the few consistently good meals one (or two) can get there. Last night Ken, Martin, and I split a pie with pepperoni, green peppers, and feta. It was well done, with a touch of garlic on the crust that really pushed it from "decent" to "good." I've also had the Mediterranean and recommend it for those who love olives and sundried tomatoes. This is also a pizza that holds up great the next day -- eat it cold or warm it in the oven. Avoid the microwave if you want a good crust.

The best thing about Tunnis pizza? Thursdays, when they are half price all night. There was a good 5-6 week period where a Tunnis Mediterranean was my Thursday dinner and Friday lunch, all for the bargain basement price of $6.50 (beer not included).

One note: avoid the "Cheesesteak Pizza." Its just kind of stupid tasting. Can something taste stupid? Trust me, the answer is yes.

Oh, and if you haven't started reading Pygmalion in a Blanket, dude, learn how to read. Links like this are life-affirming.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

With Special Guest Star David Hyde-Pierce as Havok

Anyone else catch the news that Kelsey Grammar is to play Beast in X-Men 3? Other tidbits revealed: They're casting for a Kitty Pryde and an Angel, with the latter to most likely be resolved soon. Wow. But I'm not marking out until they cast a Juggernaut, or at the very least Mister Sinister.

Update on Craigslist experiment to come. Head nods to DCBlogs for the linkage.

Also: I've got beef short ribs defrosting to cook on Saturday. I've never done this before and am, as usual, planning on improvising. Suggestions?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

In the Sauce

Sorry about the late entry. Very very very busy day.

Finally had the chance to try the calimari at Indique. Had it with the samosa I raved about before. And I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. The calimari were cooked just right -- tender and chewy without tasting like giant bits of cephalopod-flavored chewing gum. But there was way too much in terms of sauce. The sauce was tasty -- tomatoes, shallots, garlic, cumin, mustard grains, chili powder, and turmeric with a nice consistency, but it the amount completely overwhelmed the calimari. I was a bit disappointed. That's most likely because I've heard so many good things about the dish. I think I'll go with something different -- perhaps a mini-dosa -- next time I'm there.

Also, resisted the urge to have a tamarind margarita. That was hard, but I'm trying to spend a little less. Why?

I'm signing the lease to a new place tomorrow evening.

*giant sigh of relief*

Thank all that is good with the world.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Guinea Pig

I've got a seat +1 Friday evening for a special preview of Sonoma. Great deal too. Four Course Tasting, $21, $14 per bottle of wine. My question is this: who do I take as my guest? Before I receive personal entreaties, lets think about this. I could take a friend, someone I've known and know is a food fan (no one specific in mind, thinking out loud here). Or... I could take a date. Some may ask "How would you get said date?" And to you I respond: Craigslist!

The prospect of trying out Craigslist for this sort of thing is interesting. Unlike most, I'd actually have a concrete idea for a date. And no doubt I would get some... interesting responses. From a purely conceptual standpoint, I think this is actually a not so bad idea. I've got no illusions here, as there's only a 5% chance that any date would be good. But there's a 25% chance it could be interesting, and that percentage increases if I do the due diligence and exchange emails with someone beforehand.

Catherine often asks the collective hive mind of the blogosphere for advice, and though the readers of this blog are numerically less than the Zunta crowd, I thought I'd open it up to you. Am I being foolish? Maybe. I cooked this idea up very late last night. Leave a comment; any and all are appreciated, friend or not.

Update: Gee thanks internet hive mind. Guess its back to relying on good ole' intuition again. In any case, I suspect that I will receive exactly zero responses to my Craigslist ad. A worthy experiment nonetheless.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Stress

That's the word right now.

Details forthcoming, much to do.

Update: Some things have been resolved. Others are up in the air. But in general, my housing situation is looking up. Whew.

Also, I majorly messed up my knee yesterday acting the fool. Stupid, stupid me.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Quick Three While You're Away

Okay.

First, if you have the capabilities and the interest, check out the latest Boomselection. Hott.

Second, cross your fingers for me. A new space that we've (we = new roomies) have applied for rocks and we are going through the credit check thing.

Third, a friend is coming down from B-more tomorrow night. She wants to "drink [her] face off". Where to?

If everything works out, a party will come. Be on the lookout.

Edited to add: Party for a housewarming. No parties tomorrow night, at least that I know of.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Delinquent

Sorry, been delinquent about blogging. Busy as all get out. But life is good.

I've been thinking a bit about restaurant culture lately. Specifically how cuisines from societies that don't (more correctly, didn't) have a restaurant culture are traditionally cheaper "ethnic" cuisines, while foods whose origins are from restaurant-oriented societies are on the higher-end. Bear with me; these thoughts were formed drunkenly late last night.

From what I understand, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia (with the exception of Japan) had no indigenous restaurant culture prior to colonialism. I don't know about north Africa or western Asia, and can only assume that the native populations of the Americas (they were mostly non-mercantile prior to colonialism, right?) did not have restaurants either. The concept of a restaurant space -- a place where one exchanges money for food in a sit-down environment -- is more of a European thing, though there's some evidence of it in Japanese history.

Where the hell am I going with this? I don't know... but I think there's room in the market for a history of the restaurant as a concept, and its ties to colonial expansion and modern cuisine. A macro history, like the ones that have been written about cod and salt. This joins a list of food ideas of the non-critic variety I've been having of late.

Also: have come to the realization that I will never, ever be a professional food critic. Its a race thing -- I stick out of a crowd, am easily identified. Any aspiring food critics that aren't black, white, or in some parts of the country Hispanic probably have the same problem. Still wrestling with this thought. Mayhap I am wrong, but I don't think so.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Maddening Silence Drives Me to Drink

My current student (17 years old, mind you) doesn't have opinions.

This is the conclusion I've come to after multiple lessons trying to coax essays out of him, slowly. When asked his opinion on such heated issues as "Does helping people make an individual's life better?" or "Do you mind postponing trips to your father's house so we can meet on Sundays?" There are times when I don't think the gears are clicking with him. Seriously. The response my student had to the first question:
"Yes, because imagine if you were in line for a candy bar and short 5 cents, and someone helped you. That makes your life better, and if no one did that kind of thing life wouldn't be good for anyone"


Now there's a way to spin this to make it a metaphor for charity, but not only is that a stretch, but it doesn't answer the question at all. The student didn't get that the question was about the giver, not the give-ee, even after I tried to take apart the prompt for him. Finally, I just read him my response (we do an activity where we both answer questions together and compare) and he reacted: "Wow, that's a good answer too." ARGH.

Unlike my last difficult student, this one just doesn't try. Apparently he watches TV all the time, hates to read, and really just wants to play golf all day. He's sweet, in a way, but so extraordinarily difficult.

So, brimming with frustration after the lesson, I walked to Palena. I couldn't get the student out of my mind. How does one grow to the age of 17 without knowing what the word "vapid" means? (His response: "is that kind of like rapid?") Or, for that matter, "revere"?

Luckily, there was the restaurant, and a bit of Eden therein. I sat with friends, drinking pickle martinis and white Burgundy, and enjoyed a lovely and relaxing dinner with great company. We talked food, we talked life, we ate like kings for two hours. And for a few moments my disgruntled attitude towards vague scarecrows such as "kids today" and "the education system" melted into the background, replaced with the feeling that I'd found some serenity. The Café Salad with locally grown lettuce, walnuts, beets, radish, and goat cheese was heavenly; the sweetness of the beets the primary flavor playing off the textures and flavors of the other elements. The Artichoke Antipasto featured a hunk of buffaloe mozzarella that I ate in thin slices, so as to have some with every bite -- here with a slice of ham, there on a parmesan dusted hunk of crusty bread, later with the slices of artichoke heart. I quite literally left nothing on either plate and savored every last morsel. The conversation around the table elevated it all. Good food, good company, good wine.

This will be the last time I write about Palena, at least until I get into the back room for the non-café menu. Accolades could continue ad nauseum as I'll be visiting Cleveland Park fairly regularly -- but that would just get boring. So, for the last time: save your pennies and try it. Have a cocktail, have a glass of wine. Take friends and sit outside if its warm. Linger. Maybe you'll see me there. I'll be the one with a bag full of SAT study materials lying at my feet, blissfully forgotten.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Can't Remember the Last Time

There wasn't much to do last night. I was feeling rough after a bad night's sleep Sunday and a fun but active long weekend. Plus the soreness, as mentioned earlier. Despite feeling ill, I did drag myself to the gym for a workout. Got home later than usual (8:30) and ate a small dinner of leftovers and a banana. At that point I was at a loss as far as what to do... so I just went to bed. At 10. The result? I feel great today. Well rested, clean shaven -- and I managed to iron this morning and clean my room. There might be something to this "early to bed and early to rise" thing. Deserves investigation, that's for sure.

Tonight I'm off to Palena with Chef Scott. Yes, again. Venturing away from the burger to try something else off the menu. Why so many Palena trips? To that I ask you: why not? Report of our choices tomorrow. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about Indique. But I'm on a decidedly continental and American cuisine kick right now.

Bleeding Red

Leg One of my planned Bloody Mary tasting tour was Saturday afternoon. The mission was to have seven bloody's; I got to four, not because of a lack of trying but because a combination of geographic necessity and unfortunate closings made the drinking a little more challenging than expected.

After an unexpected delay (Logan Tavern wasn't opening until 12) the tasting commenced at Hamburger Mary's. Their bloody was made with Ocean Spray mix, garnished with the usual lemon, lime, and olive; the glass was rimmed with cajun salt. Consistency, medium to low; saltiness, medium; spiciness, low. Overall, an okay Bloody, but not amazing.

Next it was on to Logan Tavern, where the Bloody is really tough to break down into individual elements. Thats because its completely choose-your-own. You get a menu with booze, ingredient, and garnish choices. I got mine Absolut Peppar, very spicy with wasabi. Pretty good, though not as hot as I was expecting it to be (that is, not painful). Also enjoyed at Logan was a Jean Louis Cuvée with Pom. Very, very tasty. I've not heard good things about the food there, but the build your own Bloody was delicious.

Fast forward to a few blocks down the road as I pull up my stool to the bar at Saint-Ex. This is where I enjoyed easily the worst Bloody Mary of the day, thin, mild, and completely non-descript. They made it with Tabasco brand mix but I had to throw in a generous portion of hot sauce myself just to get the drink to par. Next time I'll pass and just get a beer.

Here's where things get a little more rough. Its 1:30; I've got a party to go to, its hot, and two of the bars I want to check out are in the opposite direction of where I need to be. No matter... this was a mission! Unfortunately, my zeal was thwarted by reality. Neither Local 16 nor Stetsons were open for brunch. Grrrr... so it was on to Polly's for the last Bloody of the day.

I love Polly's. Its a dive, tiny and unassuming. There's a good jukebox and a strong likelihood that you may not have a seat. But it was the middle of the afternoon so I had a chance to pony up to the bar. Their bloody? Garlicky. To the extreme. It may have been that at this point I was sick of tomato juice, or that my blood pressure was exponentially increasing due to sodium levels, but for the life of me I could not finish that drink. Yes it was tasty, and a bit thicker than the other versions I'd had. The mix was homemade and pretty different than the standard. But after three prior I was dying for a beer.

Sunday morning I went to brunch and realized the last thing I wanted was a Bloody Mary -- and this was 24 hours later. After four, the drink had beaten me. Cripes. My goal was to have at least 30 different versions in the city with good notes about each, and I'm only 2/15ths of the way there. This is going to be a long mission. The next destination is yet to be determined, but may either be the hotel bar tour or the Adams Morgan/Mt. Pleasant tour. Question is, will I be up for it by Saturday?

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Chewbacca Defense

Good gracious, my legs are killing me. Probably because I abused them heavily. Notably at 10 AM Sunday, sprinting to catch a 96 bus and hurdling over the island in front of the U St Metro. I don't think my shins will ever forgive me.

Speaking of vapidity, I'm going to kind-of break a tacit agreement amongst the DCists by linking to a "criticism" of DCist. I don't feel like commenting, simply because it would be too easy.

Back to the mindless tasks I've arranged for myself on this painful Monday morn.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Wherein DCist Happy Hour Kicks Our Hero's Ass, and He Makes Pasta Sauce

Walking down Columbia Road yesterday around 6:15 I idly wondered to myself whether the DCist happy hour would be a success. We had been planning this for a while (when I say "we" I should say it was Becca and Kyle that really did the legwork) and everyone was pretty hyped up about it. After a quick dinner at Churreria Madrid with Catherine and the ill (in the malady sense) Chef Scott, DCist rolled four deep into Chief Ike's. The night started off slow, which was pretty nerve wracking. The truly disgusting margaritas at Chief Ike's didn't help. But then...

Words cannot describe the fun of last night. I suspect we packed the place to the tune of 80 or so people. Ike's was definitely not prepared, with only one bartender on during the early part of the evening and people getting annoyed at the service. But they didn't leave -- just decided to double and triple fist. My kind of peeps. There was some cool blog randomness : The Cleveland Park Men's Club showed up, Kelly Ann Collins was there... crikey, I really can't put it all into words. At some point I was dancing on chairs. Kyle dropped Craig David, which was a super hot surprise. Plus: managed to grab a 90 bus home, so no cabbing. Sweet! If you're not convinced that you need to be at the next DCist party: the bar ran out of Corona. On Cinco de Mayo. It was that pizzacked, that bonkers. Images from last night are here. Yes, this is how we do it in the D.C.

This evening I made puttanesca sauce. Its a really easy, quick recipe:

1 large can peeled tomatoes
1 tin anchovies
1 can pitted black olives
1 small jar artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons capers
3 cloves garlic

Mince the garlic and saute in olive oil with the anchovies. While the anchovies are sauteeing, mash them with a spoon or spatula so they make a sort of mush. Allow to saute for about three minutes over medium. While the mix sautees, broadly chop the olives. Pour the tomatoes, juice and all, into the pan, along with the chopped olives, the capers, and the artichoke hearts. Use your spoon to break up the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Heat for about 15 minutes; use this time to make your pasta. I recommend a medium gauge pasta like linguini. With this recipe, you should have enough for three delicious servings.

It's that easy. Whore sauce, remember? Not meant to be complex, not meant to be subtle. And don't be afraid of anchovies. You know that indescribable flavor in Caesar dressing? Well, its umami... and it comes from anchovies. A good dinner, fo'rilla.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

DCist Love

Couple instances of loving on DCist today:

Wonkette: is a fan of Scott's margarita.

The Post: secretly thinks Martin's article was hilarious.

Work sucks big right now, chochachos. And I haven't cooked in nigh a week, thanks to crazy scheduling and easily available leftovers. But I'm making that puttanesca this weekend. Seriously this time.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Taste of Deliciousness

If you missed it, I did a longer piece about Palena on DCist today. So worth it. Easily, the best thing about my weekly trips to Cleveland Park.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

If I Had Known It Would be This Emo, I Would Have Worn My Studded Belt

Last night was my final lesson with Abby, the SAT student I've been working with since February. The lesson went well -- she's officially prepared for the test, and I'm willing to wager she'll see a vast improvement in her scores, math in particular. But still, the lesson was hard.

This is the first student I've become attached to. My two previous students were either rush jobs with shortened curricula or incredibly difficult. With Abby, its been once a week for more than three months, a pretty regular part of my schedule. And unlike prior students Abby had a personality in spades and our lessons were very fun. Sure, it was two hours on a Sunday afternoon (usually) and getting to Takoma was sometimes like pulling teeth. But I still think I'll miss her.

Throughout the lesson last night Abby kept repeating the refrain "I'm never going to see you again" as both a joke and a kind of sad aside. That was probably some sort of coping mechanism on her part... I purposefully avoided the subject. But as the two hours wound down I got more and more sad. At the end of the lesson I asked her to email me her scores and keep me informed as to what was going on in her life. That might sound strange, but we'd talked about a number of things beyond the call of duty: where she should go to college, what she should major in, what sort of college experience she wanted... she was a talker. All that made me feel very big-brotherly towards her. So here I am in a situation where I will most likely not see my student again. This never bugged me with previous students, but it sure does feel strange now. I don't think I could ever be a full fledged teacher, though I suspect the one-on-one nature of my tutoring increases attachments.

Oh well. Abby, if you read this (and you very well might) best of luck with everything... I'm sure you'll find your path and succeed.

Obligatory food content: Don't ever eat at Savory in Takoma Park. It may be fairly cheap but the food there sucks.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I am a Big Liar

I made the claim to Catherine and Tom (who in a coincidence have just returned from Italy) that I wasn't huge on Italian food. Upon retrospection I realized what a complete lie that claim was. Just this week I ate no less than five Italian or Italian-inspired meals, went to two different Italian shops (Vace and Litteri's) and gathered ingredients for a puttanesca sauce I'll probably make this week.

Saturday night was my first foray into making spaghetti carbonara. I picked up a half pound of pancetta (thickly sliced and yes, I pronounce that word obnoxiously) at Litteri's along with some dry pasta and set off: eggs, garlic, pepper, cheese, and I was good to go. There isn't a dish much simpler. Put a pound of pasta in to boil; while boiling the noodles broadly slice your pancetta/bacon and fry with two whole cloves of garlic. Crack three eggs in your serving bowl and whisk, adding black pepper. When the noodles are done, drain and immediately add to the eggs and mix. Throw the meat into the bowl as well along with some of the fat (discard the now-fried cloves of garlic, the flavor has been transferred to the pan). The bacon fat and eggs will bond to make a sauce. Top with grated parmesan and some more black pepper and serve.

Eggs, bacon fat, cheese? Yes, this recipe is basically a heart attack waiting to happen. But it is also seriously tasty.