Thursday, December 29, 2011


Dear Times Square party planners/Dick Clark/whoever makes this decision,

Instead of dropping that dreadfully heavy ball made of glass or crystal or whatever it is, you should consider a big fat one of these instead....

White Chocolate Cranberry Popcorn Balls (Click here for recipe)

They are just that festive!  Imagine popcorn pieces adhered with a sweet mixture of marshmallow and white chocolate and dotted with dried cranberries.  So now you know they are festive AND delicious. The original recipe calls for crystallized ginger as well, but I omitted it for a ginger-opposed dinner guest.  (That reminds me:  I have a large container of crystallized ginger that mustn't be neglected...what to make??).

Sweet New Year, everyone!

(-- and don't forgot to watch Cupcake Wars on New Year's Day to catch the awesome Matt Fraker represent his fabulous Richmond cupcake shop, Frostings!)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Let's Party

Friends, this is it: the last hurrah of "oh just one more lap around" the hors d'oeuvres table, nibbling one or two (ahem, six) Christmas cookies for breakfast, all-day grazing from the cheese platter, and 4 pm extra meals holiday happy hours before DUM DUM DUM - January 1st drops the gavel to put all resolutions in session.  Time for the gym to get crowded again and Lean Cuisines to go flying off the shelves like hotcakes. Wait, I'm pretty sure we can't eat hotcakes after the New Year.

Wow, that sounds bleak.  Good news: we're not there yet!  We've still got 10 glorious days of guilt free indulgence remaining.  So let's live it up, shall we?  Here are some holiday apps to help get the party started.

This is my version of (yet another) Pinterest idea to simply fancy up the presentation a little!  I've already gabbed about how I love me a big, fat antipasto platter and have no shame in calling it dinner. Here's an old picture:

Now here's the fancied up version.  It's pretty much the same stuff, but way cuter, huh?

Up next is something I've seen all over blogland and the Food Network Magazine:  Toasted Ravioli!
Crispy Baked Ravioli
Courtesy of

This actually is not that bad for you!  Though nearly every recipe I found renders "toasted" synonymous with "fried in oil", I knew there had to be a version that didn't require the splattering and calories of a quarter cup of oil.  After some digging, I found this baked recipe in a totally random place:  Whowouldathunkit.  Here is the recipe, and I made Barefoot Contessa's easy marinara sauce on the side for dipping.  We actually prepared a whole wheat version of these as a main course instead of an app one night, and they were seriously awesome.  They were tasty, satisfying, and pleasantly crunchy (without frying!).   Sorry, by the way, that the above is not my photo.  In the midst of our evening chaos, they were on plates and then in our bellies before the thought crossed my mind to pick up the camera. 

Butternut Squash, Sage and Ricotta Crostini (Click here for recipe)

I saved the best for last.  Okay, so I know in my last breath I was all anti-fried food and health conscious.  Can you ignore that I said that for a sec?  Fried sage is my new best friend, and I don't regret it in the slightest.  Its savory freshness is just perfect against the sweet caramelized butternut squash, creamy ricotta and fresh lemon.  And a crunchy toasted baguette offers a divine backdrop to all this goodness.  Sold.

Merry Christmas all, and of course, happy feasting!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tis the Season not update my blog for five weeks let the laundry pile overflow into the hallway stay up all night addressing Christmas cards threaten children that bad behavior will make Santa pass us by be thankful for Jesus and make goodies, make goodies, make goodies.   How completely fabulous it is that this season considers baking and consuming sugar filled snacks without shame not only acceptable, but expected.

Pinterest is just the best thing since sliced bread, and it is OVERFLOWING with fun holiday ideas from crafting to decorating to table settings to how to hang Christmas cards.  I really can't help myself.

But this is a food blog, isn't it.  Lucky me -- I've found some tasty treat ideas there as well.  This first one is a marriage of a recipe (chocolate pretzel fudge) and presentation idea (the reindeer brownies and cookies we've seen floating around).  Like many others, I adore salty/sweet combos, and I'm happy to report that this is a totally easy technique.  Love it.

Chocolate Pretzel Fudge

12 oz bag milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup broken pretzel pieces

Melt together first four ingredients on the stove.  Stir in pretzel pieces.   Pour in a foil lined, square baking pan and chill for at least three hours.

More salty sweet goodness = potato chips dipped in melted semi-sweet chocolate.  Nuff said.

Pumpkin Sandwich Cookies (Click here for recipe)

This recipe was not a Pinterest find, but something I clipped about a hundred years ago.  After it glared at me for the gazillionth time from its glossy page protector in my recipe binder (I just re-read, I declared that the 'toss it' or 'make it' decision was imminent.  I chose the latter, and boy am I glad.  I expected a modestly dense cookie, but these are more pillowy, like whoopie pies.  The filling is heaven, which is convenient given that a bite of this sandwich will leave you covered in it.  BTW, serious kudos to whoever glued two cookies together with something divinely gooey and sweet and called it something other than "two cookies glued together with something divinely gooey and sweet".  The sandwich term makes me feel a lot better about things.

Happy treating, everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Surprise Yum

I love stumbling on presumably average recipes that turn out to be completely fab.  How do I love thee, pork and sweet potato quesadillas?  Let me count the ways.

  • You were homemade but still ready in only 20 minutes!   
  • My whole fam found you delicious.
  • Small ones didn't even know you actually contained veggies.
  • You only dirtied one pan.
  • You were inexpensive to start with, and then you still graced us with leftovers.

Pork and Sweet Potato Quesadillas (Click here for recipe)

Talk about fast and easy....and especially if you use every little "pocket of time" (Rachel Ray-ism) for something productive.  I always read a whole recipe before I start cooking to come up with the fastest strategy to get 'er done.  Here was the method to my madness this time:  First, get the sweet potato in the microwave (can't beat that appliance for weeknight-friendly).  While that's working, start browning the pork in a pan.  Between stirs, come over to your cutting board and chop your garlic and scallions, and gather your fridge items and seasonings.  A couple paces across your kitchen brings everything together, and before you know it, you have a gorgeously cheesy, savory and satisfying dinner. 

We added heaping piles of sour cream and pickled jalepenos to our plates.  The jalepenos were a must....and for a better reason than just my irrational passion for all thing pickled.   They added a welcomed gentle spice to finish things off. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

How 'bout them apples?

I heard on a radio show that apple picking is for boring people.  Call me the dullest girl ever because I love much that I sometimes want to join in with my kids' festive squealing.  Our family enjoyed a gloriously sunny day at Carter Mountain last weekend that yielded mounds of pink ladies, Granny smiths, and fujis just waiting to be transformed into something fabulous.

Here are an appetizer, main course and dessert that have been the products of our harvest thus far.

Caramelized Onion and Apple Tart (Click here for recipe)

The marriage of caramelized onions and apples is brilliance.  But the real hidden treasure is the layer of creme fraiche hiding underneath.  I didn't think this recipe paid due attention to the onion preparation, so I cooked them a lower temperature...added a touch of butter in addition to the oil...and splashed a bit of balsamic vinegar at the last minute.  While this appetizer may seem a bit fussy, it's actually quite quick to throw together (particularly if you do the onions in advance), requires minimal clean-up since you line the baking pan with parchment paper, and is low maintenance since it hangs out in the oven for 30 minutes to give you a moment to get yourself together before guests arrive.  I'm putting this on my fall favorite list!

Chopped Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette  (Click here for recipe)

Everything in this title called my name, but the pomegranate vinaigrette was something I had to try, like, immediately.  After a quick gander of the recipe asking for pomegranate molasses, my heart fell thinking I'd never find it.  Thanks, Whole Foods, for coming through!  I will most certainly find some fabulous uses for this sweet little bottle.

We added sliced grilled chicken to the salad to beef (er, chicken) it up to a main course.  It was satisfying and delish.  For those wanting to make this: may I beg a favor?  Please don't skip the walnut toasting part.  It completely transforms their flavor into wow, particularly covered with the tangy and sweet dressing. 

Happy aside: my blue cheese obsessed - like, totally obsessed - daughter worked this salad.  Big brother did pretty well with his plate (though sans blue cheese) too!

Mini Apple Pies

This was an impromptu event commencing with, "we need to make something else with these about apple about today?"  I had a large muffin pan that I've been wanting to employ and thought it would be a fun departure to make little individual pies.

Pie crust ingredients are generally on hand (here's my favorite recipe).  But I didn't have the citrus called for in Barefoot Contessa's recipe for the apples and had zero motivation to leave the house for those items.  So, in lieu of lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, orange zest, and fresh orange juice, I used....the kids' morning orange juice.  Hey, where there's a will, there's a way!  All that matters in the end as far as I'm concerned is a sweet and cinnamony flavor, buttery and flaky crust, and a scoop or four of creamy vanilla ice cream. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Root Vegetable Goodness

Okay, so I've concluded that the fall is my favorite cooking season.  There.  I've done it.  A significant contributing factor: I am wild for root vegetables!  They're warm, snuggly, and satisfying.  But unlike some other foods meeting those criteria (pie crust, anyone?), they can actually be healthy!  Here are a couple recent dishes we've made to celebrate these little jewels.

Butternut Squash Gratin (Click here for recipe)

This tasty dish is roasted butternut squash layered on top of creamed spinach.  I selected this to make for a friend who just had a baby.  This darling gal is gluten intolerant, so I was pleased that the sauce for the spinach was thickened with corn starch instead of a classic roux.  What also really drew my attention was the topping, which is a mixture of fresh grated parmesan cheese and creme fraiche.  I mean, how could I not make this?

So there are kind of a lot of steps here.  But when I find something new and interesting (a departure from the standard pasta casserole) that can be frozen in advance, I do the happy dance.  The first step is slicing and roasting the butternut squash.

Meanwhile, fresh spinach takes a bath in salted boiling water to wilt.  After realizing that I'd be turning piles and piles (I doubled this recipe; one for them, one for us.) of fresh spinach leaves into the cooked, chopped version, I wondered why the heck I didn't just buy a box of frozen spinach, thaw it and squeeze the water out.  The picture below justifies the effort.  Look how bright and beautiful it is peaking out from underneath the squash.  By the way, I use my a potato ricer for the water squeezing part.  It's fast, easy, and spares my hands of being frozen and/or tinted green.

I had to include this picture too for the cute 2-yr old in the background.  She was waiting to see if I'd have any of the rind to spare with the hopes of gnawing on it.  So my kid.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

The roasting process turns these babies into caramelized goodness.  I just tossed them with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper and roasted at 400 for about 20 minutes. 

These accompanied a delish appetizer-made-dinner (we do that all the time!), which is totally worthy of a mention: Marinated portobello mushrooms with asiago

These shrooms are marinated in a flavorful mixture of balsamic vinegar, fresh rosemary, soy sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper.  It imparts tremendous flavor in a really short time (weeknight doable!).  Next, they are grilled and topped with shredded asiago cheese, breadcrumbs and fresh parsley...then grilled a little more.  YUM.  Well, let me qualify that.. the kids hated 'em.  Like, they really hated them.  I suppose I should have expected that; I do believe I detested all things mushroom until well into adulthood.  But I still try to expose the kids to new flavors as often as possible, figuring they definitely won't like something if they never have a chance to try it.  Anyway, I'll clarify here that this was exclusively a grown-up YUM.

Coconut Glazed Sweet Potatoes (Click here for recipe)

(Photo courtesy of, as the author's picture was entirely unsuccessful)

I love the sweet and spicy thing, and especially where coconut is concerned.  The glaze is rich and sweet; but the brightness of the fresh lime prevents it from being heavy.  The jalepeno puts the period on the sentence with a perfect amount of heat.  These Weber guys sure know what they're talking about. 

I was a huge fan of this dish, because it tasted great.  Hub loved it because he got to do this:

Happy Fall cooking!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Autumnal Dinners

What's with the title?  Who uses a word like this?  The first time I heard it was when a simple fall wreath on Martha Stewart's front door became her "festive autumnal entry".  After a momentary are-you-kidding eye roll, I rather swiftly chose to embrace its nerderrific awesomeness and have since made efforts to employ this adjective as often of possible during this season.  After about a half dozen uses this past weekend in Colorado (I mean, the foliage was could I not?), my sister finally looked at me and said, "what is it that you are saying?".  Okay, so maybe not everyone appreciates Marthisms as I do. 

On to the food.

Butternut Squash Flatbread with Cheddar and Pine Nuts (Click here for recipe)

With the start of cool, crisp evenings upon us, I couldn't resist this cozy sounding recipe.  You may know that we are fairly flat bread obsessed and always seeking more flavor combinations.  This one is darn tasty, and the kids loved it too.  The rich butternut squash plays beautifully off of the sharp cheddar, toasted pine nuts, and fresh and peppery arugula.  Yum. 

In lieu of baking in the oven as the recipe suggests, we grilled them.  Shocker.  This required us to pre-roast the butternut squash (400 degrees for 15ish minutes), and I did this the day before.  While it may seem like another cumbersome step, it was actually ideal since it cut down same-day prep time.  My other changes included swapping the sliced red onion for caramelized onions (also done in advance) because I am just in love with them, and also adding a layer of fresh mozzarella on one of them as a taste test.  Need I say that this version won?! 

I so recommend this recipe!  If you're limited on time, try a pre-made pizza crust, flat bread or even a pita!  It's the fresh stuff on top that shines anyway.

Salmon with Apples and Fennel  (Click here for recipe)

We celebrated Ryan's birthday with this feast.  For once, I convinced him not to grill, and I actually cooked this on the stove.  Taking less than 30 minutes to prepare, this is dish is totally weeknight friendly.  More importantly, we really, really enjoyed it.  The crispy breadcrumb coating on the salmon was a happy surprise and added a perfect texture compliment to the smooth, sweet apples and fennel.  The best part was that despite our mountainous heaping slightly generous portions (ugh, need to work on this), it was light enough to afford room for what Ryan surely considered the actual star of the meal: his triple layer carrot cake.  If you're interested in that recipe - which totally rocks - click to last year's post!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Reinvented classics fend off menu boredom.  A fresh take on a kid-friendly dish especially piques my interest since it offers familiar (safe!) flavors for my family and an opportunity for me to learn something.  This particular recipe is yummy and simple, and a good part of the preparation can be done in advance.  On a side note, I rejoiced avoiding the messy, not to mention deafening, endeavor of pounding chicken.  Hurray!

Chicken Parmesan Burgers (Click here for recipe)

I opted for toasted whole wheat rolls in lieu of french bread and also axed the radicchio garnish that would have certainly launched my children into the yuck hysterics.  I stuck to the actual burger recipe though, which is creatively enhanced with a spoonful of marinara sauce (just store bought sauce jazzed up with some fresh easy!) to add flavor and tenderness.  The burgers can be easily prepared in advance, leaving just the breading, sauteeing and sandwich assembly for the hopefully-un-frantic dinner hour. 

I happily tucked this tasty recipe into the "keeper" file!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This certain charcoal-obsessed husband I know is of the firm belief that anything and everything can be cooked on the grill.  The start of football season, I learned, necessitates employment of this theory at any opportunity, and especially if the Redskins are playing.  Tailgating at home turned out to be a blast, with an appreciated added benefit of keeping the kitchen sparkling before the start of the week.

I'm not pretending to offer a healthy menu here...but man, this feast is out-of-control good....and feels pretty football-y.  I'm such a girl. 

Cheesy Meatball Subs

The meatball recipe comes courtesy of Ina (click here for recipe), and my only modification was to reduce the amount of water to 1/2 cup so they'd be less likely to fall apart on the grill.  They were still moist and darn delicious.  Ryan browned them in batches in a cast iron skillet on the grill, and then moved them to indirect heat - which acts like an oven - to cook them through.

We brushed the rolls with olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper before laying them flat on the grates for a gentle toasting. 

This added great flavor while preventing the inside of the sandwich from getting soggy.  Next, we spooned on some store-bought marinara sauce (I've taken a liking to Delgrosso...made in PA!), and topped it with the meatballs and fresh mozzerella before closing the grill to give the sandwich a final, glorious toasting.  These sandwiches left all four of us stuffed, sauce-covered, and reeeal happy.

Smoked Wings with Blue Cheese Sauce

I had this little love affair with smoked wings from this joint down the street until that joint abandoned me and closed down without warning.  The nerve.  Ryan exhaled with relief that he could finally just make some darn wings at home.  I protested a little bit...they sounded messy, and pleading no offense to hub, I honestly doubted they'd be as amaaaazing as the ones I had grown to crave.  I decided to shut my mouth and get out of Ryan's way, while he proceeded to prove me straight up wrong.  These wings were better than any restaurant wings I've had, thanks to a 2-hour smoke, a quick fry in blazing hot peanut oil, a swim in buttery hot sauce, and a dip in smothering of homemade cheese dressing.  Best. Wings. Ever.

This whole event occurred outside and commenced with 18 wings being rubbed with this mixture.  Next, they went in a 225 degree smoker for 2 hours.  Meanwhile Ryan heated a big fat pot of peanut oil on the burner on the side of his gas grill.  The smoked wings took a speedy, one minute dip to fry in the oil.  The wings were then swirled in a bowl with a 50-50 (1/2 cup each) mixture of melted butter and Frank's Hot Sauce until coated.  We served them with the classic celery accompaniment, alongside a quick blue cheese dressing (about 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1/3 cup buttermilk, 1/4 cup half and half, a splash of tarragon vinegar, salt, pepper and a fat handful of blue cheese crumbles).  I love love love how the rich blue cheese sauce cooled the fire the wings left in my mouth.

Okay, so clearly these dishes are not something we - or anyone in her sane mind - should make on a frequent basis.  And as a rule, I generally prefer to enjoy dinner free of the impending loom of Zantac.  But sometimes it's totally fun to live a little, and the start of football season seemed like a festive occasion.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Reflective moments can be seriously therapeutic.

This post hearkens back to a simpler time… pre-first-day-of-Kindergarten, -5th-birthday-party, -big-girl-bed-transition, 2-yr-old-croup, -hurricane/3-day-power-outage, and -earthquake/aftershocks…which was actually less than a mere three weeks ago.

Kitchen Clambake (Click here for Recipe)

The subject of said reflection: a summer clambake with some of my best friends in the world.  This is a simple, completely delicious and totally festive experience.  Shockingly, despite the circling laps of five children under five, the grown-ups of this gathering were actually able to enjoy a reasonably relaxed, family-style meal, shelling seafood at our own paces while a basket of crusty bread made its passes up and down the table.  This meal’s service is refreshingly low key, and so is the preparation!  Most of the work was done in advance, including browning the fresh kielbasa and cleaning the potatoes, corn, shrimp, clams, and mussels, so that all that had to happen in the presence of guests was some sautéing of leeks/onions, and then the layering of ingredients in a big, fat lobster pot.  This pot did not actually contain lobsters, as both the pot’s title and recipe would suggest.  I ask for your forgiveness there, and I don't mean to deceive.  But with the goodness from the other ingredients, magnified with a rich white wine sauce singing with the salty essence of the sea, I, for one, found nothing lacking.

Some clambake and low country boil methods include halved corn cobs.  We steamed them separately in order to feed the kids in advance.  So they were served on the side, along with two baguettes that had been thrown in the oven to warm for 5ish minutes before sitting down.

Tasty desserts came courtesy of our friend Jess and included awesome homemade vanilla ice cream dotted with mini M&Ms and a gorgeous, tangy key lime pie.  That scrumptious recipe from Barefoot is actually already on the blog!

Bon voyage, summertime.  Till next year.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mango Madness

I struggle to resist a mango in its sublime, summertime sweetness.  They make a happy, bright compliment to so many savory dishes.  If only their darn pits weren't so tricky to work around, not to mention enormous relative to the actual flesh of the fruit!  When my kids spy a mango on the cutting board, I can count on instantaneous hovering, with mouths open and not the slightest concern for the labor required to to amass just one juicy, yellow morsel.  Weakened by those sweet little faces, I've just embraced the reality that, as a rule, I need to purchase roughly twice the  quantity of mango specified in recipes.

Here are a few light, summertime dishes featuring mangoes; incidentally, seafood stars in all of these plates as well!

Seared Tuna with Mango Chutney (Click here for recipe)

This dish rocks, and why wouldn't it?  My girl Ina never lets me down.

(I know I talk about her like she's my BF.  I did actually meet her once when my friend and I waited in line outside Sur la Table with an 8 week old Andrew to have her sign our cookbooks.  I greeted her assistant Barbara - whom I instantly recognized from my dedicated program viewing - like we were old chums and then waited with eagerness for my 12 1/2 seconds in Ina's presence.  She goobed at Andrew, which kind of made my year.)  

Back to the food.   The rich chutney harmonizes perfectly with the light fish, which we happened to grill for this dish (but I've seared it as well before, and both techniques are divine).  Toasted coconut rice played a sweet supporting role.

Shrimp and Mango Salad

This dish was inspired by this Epicurious recipe for Shrimp, Mango and Avocado Salad with Sweet Chili-Ginger Vinaigrette.  We grilled shrimp (brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper) and tossed it along with diced mango - but no avocado since it didn't make it home from the store with me - in the dressing as outlined in the recipe.  The result was tasty and bright.  I love when a single bite satisfies tangy, spicy and sweet all at the same time.  The rice in the background is Barefoot's herbed basmati rice recipe. The broccoli is just lightly steamed and flavored with the sauce oozing over from the shrimp.

Mango Cucumber Rice Salad  (Click here for recipe)

While this is a rice salad per the title, my salad did not actually contain rice, due to my failure to read the recipe until mealtime was 15 minutes away.  Digesting the reality that my poor planning did not leave me with enough time to actually cook the rice, I defaulted to increasing the quantity of quick-cooking quinoa instead.  (So I guess a more appropriate title is Mango Cucumber Quinoa Salad....tomato tom"ah"to.)  Let's be honest here.... if you're a regular quinoa eater, you will find this simple salad to be pleasant and refreshing.  To me, the sweet mango plays nicely off of the crisp cucumber and salty crunch of the peanuts. If you're most men...oops I probably shouldn't have said that not typically a grain person, I'm going to guess that you'll find this boring and mildly tasteless.  Just trying to keep it real, friends...  The bowl next to the salad contained the main course:  Asian Black Cod with Hoisin and Ginger Sauces.  This was a yummy and flavorful partner for the salad.

Darnit.  To be entirely festive, this post really should have included some delicious cocktail like a mango martini or margarita.   Here's a recipe.  Let's pretend I made this too.  Cheers!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Date Nights

Date nights bring on the giddiness of Christmas morning for us.  Hub shares my appreciation for a delicious plate, so that's often our date night pursuit.  Richmond has pleasantly surprised us with some culinary treasures, so I thought I'd share a snapshot of some of our food experiences this summer.

Yes, I'm that weirdo in restaurants taking pictures of my plates.  While I aim for discretion, it's probably still shameful.  I've got to say, though, that I feel like I get to sort of relive these meals through photos after the fact.  So I'm just gonna keep on doing it.

The Black Sheep

This place is rustic and completely unassuming.  It's all about fresh, carefully prepared and beautifully presented homemade food.  The service is friendly too.  I'm a huge fan.

Our starter: 
Crawfish Étouffée “Gravy” Biscuit (no picture)- Crawfish Tailmeat in a Rich Brown Sauce Served over a Freshly Baked Parmesan Biscuit.  My review: Divine and perfectly spicy. 

Main courses:  
Trout Tinker Creek (no picture) - Pan Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Snow Pea Shoots & Mushrooms.  Served with a Brown Butter Corn Sauce.  Ryan said this was the best white fish dish he has ever had!  I mean, who wouldn't adore brown butter corn sauce though?

Arctic Char Grilled Niçoise - Fillet of Arctic Char, Grilled & Served with Grilled Potato, Grilled Fennel, Haricot Vert, Tomato, Mussel Salad, Black Olive Vinaigrette & a Deviled Egg...Served Over Organic Mixed Greens. This was entirely divine.  Each, gorgeously fresh component was amazing in its own right, so combining them just made it all the more incredible.  I could have eaten the kalamata olive dressing with a spoon.  This dish ignited a grilled fennel obsession... so much that I finally had to make some earlier this week!  Love love love.


I love the small plate concept, and this restaurant offers an experience worth remembering.  It's practically a dive, which I totally appreciate and kinda love. Thanks to Kate for letting me know that it's a place worth visiting!  The best dish was the one in the middle below:  Buttered Brussel Sprouts with Sea Salt and Pine Nuts.  The waiter said they are like candy, and I thought he was nuts until I tasted them and enthusiastically concurred.

Other dishes:   
Seared Beef Teres Major with Cabrales Sauce - decadently rich and complex
Grilled Asparagus with Garlic, Olive Oil, 3-month Manchego, and Romesco sauce - The asparagus was almost too al dente for me, but the accoutrements more than made up for it!
Bloody Mary Poached Shrimp with Grits - my second fave; it was incredible!!
Pork Tenderloin with Raspberry Sauce and Greens - pleasantly sweet and simple, but nothing to write home about.

We wrapped it up with Apple Fritters with House-made Vanilla Ice cream.  The fritters were reminiscent of funnel cake; who doesn't love funnel cake?!

Chez Foushee

This was just a dessert stop for their signature Lemon Butter Cake. I don't have a picture, because someone (ok, me) somehow entirely devoured before the camera could capture it.  The waiter poured coffee on me, and I almost didn't notice it amidst the shoveling.  This dessert has all of the best texture qualities of cake, pound cake and cheesecake, accented with sweet, lemony goodness.  I will SO be back there again.


I think the cat is out of the bag on this joint, since we had to wait nearly an hour despite our senior citizen-esque early arrival.  You can order entree portions or opt for small plates.  We did both!

Dorado's Tacos - Seared Dorado, Corn Tortillas, Jicama Cucumber Slaw, Pickled Red Onion, Lime Wedges, Avocado, Cilantro Lime Crema, Grilled Zucchini, and Coconut Black Beans.  - The beans, oddly, were what I remember most.  They were so surprisingly sweet and delightful.  I also love me some pickled onions.

(Sorry for the fuzzy pictures from here on....)

Voodoo Shrimp - Wild-Caught Shrimp, Allspice, Rum, Chorizo, Torta Round, Banana, Soft-Fried Egg, Habañero   A slightly oozier egg yolk would have elevated this plate from tasty to wow, but the concept of this dish is so up my alley!  The rich egg and sweet banana were a great offset to the zingy shrimp and chorizo.

Pobresito - Fresh Fried Oysters and Shrimp, Tomato, Habañero Tartar Slaw  The crunchy oysters were nice, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that my palate longed for horseradish.  I have really happy memories of fried oysters and cocktail sauce at the Old Ebbitt Grill bar in DC with my late and horribly missed friend, Gene.


Cabo Crab Cakes - Lump Crab Cakes, Cabbage, Lobster/Lime Cream, Saffron Potato Cakes, Broccoli  I think I missed the point, since the highlight, to me, was the potato cakes!

Remember the opening scene of "My Best Friend's Wedding" where the restaurant kitchen frenzies to bring Julia Roberts' character a perfect plate, and all hold their breath awaiting her critique?  I fantasize on the idea of gallivanting from restaurant to restaurant, sampling amazing cuisine (you know, for free, of course) just to write a little paragraph about it the next day.  Oh yeah, and I'd get paid for that too.  HA!

PS - Thanks to hub for being the best date ever. xo