That’s Risotto

October 14, 2010 at 12:01 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

So I thought this blog would serve as a nice outlet during these crazy campaign days, but when it gets as busy as it has been up here in New Hampshire blogging is just not an option!  It’s a shame too because I’ve found a couple nights where I could actually cook up a storm!  The campaign’s over Nov. 2nd so hopefully my next job (which is still TBD) will allow for a bit more time to update this saucy little page.

Any who!  Now that I’ve given you excuse number 23940593 as to why I haven’t kept up to date on this, I’ve got to talk about one thing, and one thing alone:

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…that’s RISOTTO!!!  Ok not really…

It is one of my favorite dishes, especially in the fall and winter.  For a LONG time, I couldn’t order it in any restaurant because my dad’s is just so good.  When my parents would ask what I wanted for my birthday dinner? Time and time again? Dad’s risotto.  He made it with peas, mushrooms and shrimp and it always had a little kick to it.  This risotto was exactly how it should be; velvety, rich, comforting.  Because of my new found desire to educate myself in cooking and wine, and clearly being my father’s daughter, I had to attempt this!

Ive taken 2 attempts, the first was good…not great.  I used a textbook recipe just to learn so that the next time I could really make it delicious!  So, with no further ado, here is the cookie cutter risotto recipe I used with my own twists (in italics) on it:

Ingredients:

– 2 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium to keep this is BIT healthier)

– butter (making Paula Deen proud!)

– 1 cup Arborio rice

– 1/4 cup dry white wine

– 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp Mascarpone cheese

– salt

red pepper

– mushrooms

– peas, thawed if frozen

– one small onion

– garlic

Directions:

In one medium pan, bring 2 cups of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of water to a simmer, keep hot over low-med heat

– In one deep pan, melt a little more than a tablespoon of butter and add diced onion, garlic and mushrooms (Zach Morris Time Out: nothing smells better than onion and garlic cooking in melting butter, TIME IN).

– After onions have softened, add one cup Arborio rice, cover in the butter, garlic, mushrooms and onions, cook for 3-5 minutes

– Next, add 1/4 cup of dry white wine to rice, cook until fully absorbed

– After rice has absorbed the wine, ladle 1-2 spoonfuls of chicken broth to rice and cook until fully absorbed — continue doing this until all of the chicken broth has been used **be sure to be constantly stirring the risotto**

– After all the rice has absorbed the chicken broth, add peas

– After adding peas, add 2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp of Mascarpone cheese

– Add salt and red pepper to taste

This process might take up to 40 minutes, but I promise you, it’s worth it!  The risotto should looks creamy and velvety.  Also, if you don’t like spicy foods, change red pepper to regular pepper.  Quite simple!  I hope you enjoy this lovely fall/winter dish.  I am going to be making butternut squash risotto as a Thanksgiving side dish, so I will be SURE to let you know how that goes.  In the meantime, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and Making what your papa gave ya**

 

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Make your cake and eat it too!

August 24, 2010 at 4:46 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Hey there… it’s been a while!  Been a while since I’ve had any time in my kitchen, and that does not make me happy.  This weekend, however, I finally had a day where I could really mess up the kitchen!  What did I make to mess up my kitchen this weekend you ask?  Well, I took a stab at one of the only kinds of cake I’ll eat anytime of year; carrot cake.  Now before I get into my recipe, I have to mention that one of my favorite things to do right after I clean my entire apartment is bake.  Something about the warm aroma coming from the oven just makes my apartment feel that much cleaner!

This time around, I decided to try, for the first time, carrot cake!  Here’s the recipe I used, for the cake and the frosting:

Ingredients

  • Butter, for pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, optional

Directions

Frosting:

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round pans; Line bottom of the pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans, if using.

Pour into pans. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on waxed paper and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy using a hand mixer. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cake layer. Stack the cakes on a serving plate and serve.

I don’t personally like nuts in any of my baking (that’s what she said? no?), so I left them out.  Another great tip is this:

**Make sure you shred your own carrots! It keeps the cake so moist even into the second and third day you have it around.  I also like this recipe because you can make it a bit healthier by using one regular cream cheese and one reduced fat or fat free cream cheese for the frosting.  I would show you a picture of the cake, but it disappeared so fast, I couldn’t snap a shot!  I have one piece left in the freezer but even if I don’t get a picture of that, you can guarantee I will make it again!  This recipe is compliments of non other than…

MA GURL!  Seriously, my mom thinks I’m crazy when I say when this woman dies (GOD FORBID) I will travel to her grave with a stick of butter and a jar of mayonnaise but it will happen…it…will…happen.

Now I have something to get off my chest, I know I promised Top Chef recaps, but honestly, I’ve had it with this season.  Once that pea puree fiasco happened, I gave up.  I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I, of course, will keep watching, but let me say this: Top Chef DC, you are lucky that you have moved to 10pm because you would have lost my viewing to Master Chef with the rude, crude…and SEXAY Gordon Ramsay.  Seriously, check it out it’s a great show!

Well this post wasn’t my finest, or most entertaining, but I do recommend you all try this carrot cake recipe!  Until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and Good Eye Sight**

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Hometown Cookin’

July 31, 2010 at 7:44 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

If there’s one ingredient that needs to be in every recipe, in every dish, in every meal, it’s love.  You can ALWAYS tell, in anything, if love was not put into the effort.  This is absolutely, 100% true when it comes to cooking food.  I firmly believe that one of the reasons my dad’s food is so damn good is because he loves it.  That’s why some of the best cooking doesn’t have recipes.

While I was cooking my Albanian dish today and watching Top Chef and Food Network marathons, I had a couple other things going on just… well… because.  One thing my father did almost every Sunday was make tomato sauce.  Being my father’s daughter, I’ve always wanted to know how to make it.  The trick is…there is no right or wrong way to make it.  There’s no recipe for my dad’s tomato sauce, he just puts a ton of stuff in it until it tastes good!  Honestly!  So today, I made a meatless tomato sauce.  Because I’m trying to learn and hope you are too, I am willing to share what I put in the pot to make my delicious tomato sauce.  Don’t expect measurements though…making tomato sauce is all about taste.

In order to get there, here is what I did to make my own Fritalian Gravy.

Ingredients:

one onion

– mushrooms

– 2 cans tomato sauce

– 3/4 can tomato paste

– 3/4 can diced tomatoes

– red wine

– garlic

– garlic salt

– olive oil

– water

– LOTS of Italian spices

– love

Directions:

1. dice onions and mushrooms

2. Put about three counts of olive oil in the bottom of the pot and sweat the diced onions and mushrooms

3.  add the cans of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and about half a can of water

4. spice with italian seasoning, basil, oregano, garlic, etc to taste

5. bring to a boil then turn heat down and let simmer for a couple of hours, stirring occassionally

Letting the sauce stew for a couple hours really allows the spices to meld with the rest of the ingredients.

That’s really the  closest thing I can give you to a recipe for tomato sauce.  This is one of those things you really just have to feel and taste.  It sounds crazy, but I suggest you give it a try… there’s a little Italian in everybody 😉

**Tidbit for storage!!!  Freezing tomato sauce always works, but again, since I cook for one, one EXTREMELY helpful hint I learned was this:

Freezing sauce or pesto in ice cube trays is so helpful for single servings since you won’t have to thaw an entire jar or bag of tomato sauce just to refreeze it.

Now onto the other homemade dish I made today… homemade chicken salad.

This sounds a lot easier than it actually is to make.  When it comes to chicken salad, I prefer a pulled chicken rather than a diced.  So that’s exactly what I did!  Here’s a nice twist on a typical chicken salad recipe:

Ingredients:

one chicken breast

– mayo

– lemon juice

– Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

– celery

– celery seed

– red onion

– almonds

Directions:

1. salt and pepper each side of the chicken, cook thoroughly, then let sit to cool

2.  while chicken is cooking, dice celery and red onion

3. pull the chicken (use a fork to hold the chicken, then use the back side of a spoon or a knife to pull along the grain of chicken to make it look shredded)

4. combine diced celery, red onion, shredded chicken, dash of celery seed

5. add a splash of lemon juice, this will enhance the colors and taste of everything in this chicken salad

6. add a dollop of sweet baby ray’s BBQ sauce

7. add mayo to taste and to bind everything together

8. fold a couple pinches of almonds into the chicken salad mix

9. store and let set and cool in fridge until ready to eat or the next day

This is another dish I understand there aren’t a lot of measurements, but it’s a dish made with love and one you have to make how you like it, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Tomorrow I plan to roast some gutted red peppers and using that as the serving utensil for the chicken salad.  Sounds amazing right?!  I can’t wait to try it.  I’ll be sure to add a picture when it’s all complete.

Thanks for reading and as usual, until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and Ole Fashion Homecookin’**

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ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!!!

July 31, 2010 at 6:47 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Before I move on to the other things I made today… we NEED to talk about Top Chef.  Everyone likes being right, correct?!  And everyone likes to point out when they’re right…right?!  So I just need to take a second and do an “I told ya so” dance!  Was it not even a week ago that I said, they should have Art Smith, Jose Andres and some members of Congress on the show?! Seriously, ask and you shall receive!

This week’s episode of Top Chef was FINALLY DC!!!!  First, Aaron Schock (aka Doogie Howser) was the guest for the Quickfire Challenge.  I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t take a second to brag that I was one of the first people in DC to take him out to lunch when he was a candidate back in 07.  So now that you all know that tidbit of useless information, the quickfire challenge was ALL TOO FAMILIAR.  Being someone who has to know every federal election law ever written to avoid being sent to prison, I was hysterically laughing when they brought up the new “food rule.” While planning convention activities in 2008, the Federal Election Commission decided to try to avoid lobbyist and special interest groups buying lavish dinners for members of Congress by making a rule that everything had to be small enough to be served with a toothpick (or a spoon; i.e. an amuse-bouche).  One of my favorite dishes at the conventions was actually an amuse-bouche made on an edible spoon! Ahhh, loopsholes!  This rule is more commonly known as the “toothpick rule”  to which Rep. Schock referred to.  So this challenge was not only one that was close to home, but a very DC-unique challenge.

The elimination challenge was also awesome because there is NOTHING I miss more than DC Power Lunches.  There were many Fridays that were spent drinking expensive bottles of wine in the most lavish restaurants in DC during the lunch hour giving y’er shpeal, making deals…and that was just my experience!  Those types of lunches happened everyday.  Not only was this a good challenge, but they had it had The Palm which is a notable DC restaurant, with hugely notable DC judges!!!  Sen. Mark Warner was there, ART SMITH, Luke Russert and Joe Scarborough, just to name a few.  I seriously feel like the were listening to me bitch!  And what made me literally scream at the end of the episode?!  Next week’s guest judge….

IS JOSE ANDRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Pretty sure I’ve made my case for him since the beginning of, not only, this season of Top Chef, but of this blog.  He’s my favorite, HANDS DOWN, favorite DC chef.  I am so happy Top Chef finally saw the light and are incorporating more DC into this season.

As I said before, this is the most manipulative, competitive group of competitors I’ve ever seen on this show, which honestly, makes a lot of sense because there isn’t a more manipulative, competitive city than Washington, D.C.  This episode, Alex OBVIOUSLY stole Ed’s English Pea puree and ended up winning the elimination challenge because of it.  I hope he falls flat on his face, literally and figuratively, and is eliminated next week. He’s a Russian Spy and I don’t like the cut of his jib.  Then Amanda needs to go…still vying for that.

At the end of the day, Andrea was asked to leave, which wasn’t unexpected, she’s definitely wasn’t a stand out chef this season and was bound to leave any way.  I can’t wait for this week’s episode because of Jose Andres, I hope he’s on for all 52 minutes or whatever length of time the show is actually on for.

Alright kids, thanks for coming and until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and Power Lunches**

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Fail to the Chef

July 26, 2010 at 7:46 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

Wednesday marked the 6th episode of Top Chef DC, a season of Top Chef I was anticipating the start of more so than any other season.  There are the obvious reasons like the fact that I used to call DC home, but I also though that, perhaps, Bravo and the Top Chef crew could try to top last season’s Vegas contestants.  We’re 6 episodes in, and they’re giving us nothing.  The Challenges are lame, the contestants suck– well I’ll give them one thing, they are the most competitive, manipulative group this show’s ever had.

Now that I’ve bitched about the season once again, I have to say this week’s was probably one of the better and more fitting venues and challenges yet.  The contestants had to made only cold dishes on the USS Sequoia, the President’s boat version of Marine One.  The USS Sequoia takes off right next to one of my favorite watering holes in DC, Cantina Marina and is right in the Potomac.  But!!! (and you knew that nice talk wouldn’t last long) I was so turned off when they flew in a guest judge from MIAMI!!!  I mean come ON!  Jose Andres owns 5 restaurants in DC, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, The Source, is in the Newseum where the first epsiode too place, ART SMITH HIMSELF, who has also been on TOP CHEF MASTERS, has a restaurant there and you couldn’t find a DC area guest judge?!  Be serious for a second. Thanks. Phew, glad I could get that off my chest.  End of the day, my iron horse was asked to “pack her knives and go.”  Dagger.  I’m still pulling for Kenny or Angelo.

Now that I’ve got all that out in the open onto a little dish I put together tonight that completely hit the spot.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but if there are two types of food a LOT of people like, it’s Mexican and BBQ.  Tonight, I couldn’t decide between the two, so I decided, why not just combine them?

There you see a BBQ ground turkey taco.  Here are the ingredients:

– ground turkey

– BBQ sauce

– Monterrey jack cheese

– shredded lettuce

– sour cream

– salsa

– jalapenos

– soft tortilla

After cooking through the turkey with some salt and pepper, saute it in BBQ sauce, this will heat up the sauce to keep your dish hot.  Then just dress the taco the way you want!  I like mine with shredded monterrey jack, lettuce, sour cream, salsa and topped with some jalapenos.  Since I had some turkey left over, I made a side taco salad with everything but the tortilla!

Wine of the night: Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc.  Runs about $9.99

Tacos are a great thing to make if you just have a bunch of stuff to throw together.  I highly suggest trying this one night if especially for something with a new twist.

This weekend will be the first time I have a moment in my apartment to cook so I will move onto Albania as the second Around the World dish!  Until next time sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and BBQ Pavo**

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“Wine is bottled poetry.”

July 21, 2010 at 10:17 AM (Uncategorized) ()

Boy do I agree with Robert Louis Stephenson.  There is nothing that makes me happier than a glass of wine at the end of the day.  Everything about it makes me happy, the taste, the complexities, all of it!  And recently, I have taken it upon myself to really learn about wine, how it’s made, what the best years were, regions that different wines come from and why, etc.  Really take in the time to smell, taste and swirl (unless you’ve just spent the day with hundreds of political activists, then I usually just uncork and drink… no glass needed.)

One problem I’ve come across is the best wines tend to be (DUH!) more expensive.  My favorite wine in the world is Chateauneuf-du-Pape which doesn’t run cheap.  In fact, the cheaper bottles start around $50-60 a bottle!  And I’m certainly not someone that can afford that!  Buying wine to me is like shopping for shoes; you want to find something your comfortable with, within your budget, and something you know you’ll enjoy.  But every once in a while, you get adventurous, find something you haven’t tried before, and splurge a little.  For the everyday stuff, when you’d like to always have a bottle of wine around, I try to keep it cheap.  And for those of you who do the same, or who are really just starting to learn about wine, here’s an article I found really interesting:

5 Ways to Sex Up a Bargain Wine Bottle

Now if only I could get Belinda’s job, I’d be good to go.  Happy Reading!

*Peas, Love and Tannins*

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No Soup For You…Redux!!!

July 20, 2010 at 4:34 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

So I came into today not expecting much.  The news is always kept on in my office (not by choice) which is horrible because there’s nothing more depressing on television than the news.  Then…I came across this little headline.  One that combines two of my favorite things in the entire world and absolutely puts a smile on my face.

“Real-life ‘Soup Nazi’ reopening famed shop”

You really didn’t think I was going to put the actual link there instead of that video did you?! Wow.  I guess we don’t know each other as well as I thought… well that’s awkward.

In all seriousness though, the original Soup Nazi is reopening his shop in midtown NYC!  I’ve never been a huge soup person unless is one of those delicious but insanely heavy cream based soups.  Lobster bisque….uhhh thank ya, yes, PLEASE.  But if you find yourself in NYC you MUST try this place.  The soup really is as good as Seinfeld lets on.

This excites me because not only was this place an icon before Seinfeld, but it still shows how prevalent the greatest show on television still is, even almost 10 years after it went off the air.  Seriously, I challenge anyone to debate me on why they think Seinfeld is not the best show with the best writing that’s ever been on TV.  Double dog dare you…

Alright, this one was short and sweet but until next time sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

*Peas, love and yada, yada, yada*

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She Sells Sea Shell(fish) by the Sea Shore

July 15, 2010 at 4:22 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

This past weekend my mom came from Connecticut to visit which was great because visitors to me screams restaurant time!!!  This is when I head to Open Table, Travel & Leisure and Food & Wine for recommendations in my area.  Her visit prompted me to finally try the Bedford Village Inn right outside Manchester.  Now we all know I’ve bitched and complained about the food around here, in fact, I’ve been waiting for a meal at a restaurant around here that really was satisfying…well ladies and gentlemen! I’ve found it!

There are a number of reasons I absolutely will be making the BVI my “go-to” restaurant in my remaining months here in New Hampshire.  One, of course, as mentioned the quality of food.  Nothing was over-salted (cough cough Firefly cough), undercooked or bland.  The second reason is actually the main reason I love this place: they have three different restaurants in the Inn and regardless of where you eat, the tavern, the restaurant or Corks, the wine bar, you can choose from any of the three menus.  So if you want a more contemporary feeling place with lounge type music but want the high end food from the main restaurant you can.  Or if you want a cheese platter while dressed down in the tavern, you can!  There is also a great wine list.  Corks, which I said before, is the wine bar set up at BVI and it was great.  They had Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc by the glass which is EXACTLY what I was looking for on a hot Friday like last week.

I also felt like I had walked into any restaurant in DC walking into Corks.  It most reminded me of Veritas in Dupont which is a fantastic wine and cheese bar I would highly recommend down there.  It’s definitely a “hidden gem” as you’ve probably driven past it 100 times and just never knew it was there.  I digress!  To the food!  My mother had a veggie pizza that was to DIE for, and I ordered their bamboo steamed shrimp and scallops that came over lo mein noodles with a somewhat spicy soy sauce on it.  It was so good.  I would recommend this place to anyone having to visit the Manchester area.  So happy I finally found a place where I KNOW I’ll get a good plate of food!

Just when I thought I had probably the only good restaurant meal I’ll have in Manchester, we found Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier on Saturday after some retail therapy.  Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier is over the water in Kittery Point, Maine and it is the quintessential place to have lobster!  As you can see, even Travel & Leisure Magazine agrees!!  You eat at picnic tables, wear Lobster bibs, and BYOB.  It is THE best way to experience lobster– here’s the little sucker they made mine:

This was the sweetest, most succulent lobster I have ever had.  It doesn’t even need the drawn butter!  And seriously, if anyone tries to tell you lobster is best in a restaurant, they are clearly out of their minds.  The ONLY way to eat lobster is at a picnic table, fingers covered in shell and a mug of beer next to you.  End of story.  So if you have a chance, get to Chauncey Creek, its absolutely unreal.  Dang it now my mouth’s watering!

Okay, since we’re talking shellfish, let’s talk this week’s Top Chef — since I’ve already written a novel on those 2 restaurants, I’ll make my summary quick.  Here goes:

Crab Quickfire challenge = awesome because everyone knows the best place to get lobster is (well duh) Maine, crawfish is NOLA, and crab is MURALAND (that’s Maryland for all you non district readers).

Fresh Farm Market elimination challenge = also good because of the amazing fresh farm markets DC has to offer… HOWEVER they traveled to Virginia for this one.  Yeah, adds to the beef I have with this season (pun, INtended).

Amanda still drives me nuts, I’m still angry Nelson is gone, and now the Maryland homeboy has been axed.  I’m pretty sure I’m still right though about Tamesha soooo keep an eye on that.

Well thanks for reading!  Until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and Lobstah**

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Hail to the Chef…

July 7, 2010 at 10:04 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

HOW COULD I FORGET!!!!! Top Chef DC has started! And I know I tried to incorporate Top Chef Vegas last year when I started this blog, but I was horrible at keeping this thing up last year.  Also, this year Top Chef takes place in DC!  I mean seriously, I spent more than 6 years there, and was the person my friends called to get restaurant recommendations (and still do!).  So since I’ve already condemned myself for forgetting this, let’s move on because I seriously have some thoughts about this season… herre we gooooooo!

Bravo…I love you.  With all my heart, even when you try to make every guy that watches your station gay…. C’mon, I remember the days you were a station SPECIFICALLY created to replay the best movies ever… get it… BRAVO!?!?! We like the movies so much we watch you to replay them?! Yea.  Those days were a loooong time ago.  Regardless, I love you.  Especially when you introduced things like Millionaire Matchmaker, Project Runway and….Top Chef.

Here’s my beef with this season…no pun intended.  What kind of challenges are these?!  DC is a VERY underrated foodie city.  I had some of the best meals of my life in that city and some of the most prominent chefs in the WORLD have restaurants there… and this week…you want them to come up with a Hilton room service menu option… I mean, it could make sense, a lot of business travel happens in DC, a lot of dirty politicians bringing their mistresses to hotels….maybe.  But STILL!  So far, I’ve seen lame DC challenges involving people that are in NO WAY interns (thank you though for taking Hill staffers down a notch, that actually gave you bonus points this season muahah), this Hilton menu challenge and baby food?!

Also, this week, they had guest judges Mike Isabella (my love and executive chef of one of my top 3 favorite restaurants in DC, Zaytinya), Brian Voltaggio and Spike.   Amazing guest judges for being in DC…but to not mention Good Stuff Eatery when introducing Spike?! Have these people been to DC in the past 2 years?!  Apparently not.  Spike opened Good Stuff after his appearance on Top Chef season 4.  He’s made creative burgers and the best milkshakes I’ve ever had– something that was missing from DC (other than Five Guys of course, which is different because it’s a chain).   I mean I get trying to market and advertise a pizza place he hasn’t even opened yet, but come on, at least we know Good Stuff is doing well already.  Oh man I feel like I’m just getting started…

Can we talk about Amanda for a second.  She’s AWFUL.  I mean Robin last season was bad because she was just annoying and kept getting through even though her cooking was no where on par with the unbelievable talent that radiated from the chefs in Vegas, Amanda is just a bitch.  I understand competition, but she’s just mean.  Angelo on the other hand is like Mike Isabella from last season, cocky because he’s competitive.  I like that.  (It does help Angelo is from Connecticut…us Connecticutians have to stick together!)  That and he’s actually really good! Just like Mike I. was, people just don’t like them because they have egos.

Two other chefs I really enjoy are Arnold and Kenny.  Unfortunately, one of them went home this week because they were paired with people who I kept forgetting their names because they just don’t stand out.  I mean the woman Arnold was paired with, I can NEVER remember her name!!  Anyway, that’s competition, in one day out the next.  I also have to admit that I really liked Tracey because she was full of one liners and I have a prediction…

Tanesha = dark horse.  Write that down.

Okay, I’ve bitched (almost) enough about this season but regardless, it’s still one of my all time favorite shows so I will continue to watch and continue to update on the blog.  Hopefully they will really take advantage of the incredible views, restaurants and chefs that call DC home in the near future.  It would be a shame to have Nancy Pelosi (gew) show up on one episode and find that sufficient enough to qualify that as Top Chef DC.

Until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, (and) Love (to the) best city in the US**

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Oui, Oui, Sonsie

June 7, 2010 at 9:39 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

In the 25 and a half years of my life, I never thought there would be a day when food just sounded repulsive, a day when I had no appetite.  I have found such a day… about 10 days ago, I had to undergo the quarter-life ritual of wisdom tooth extraction.  It’s the first (and probably) only time I can say I had no appetite for a week and I am forever scarred from Strawberry Jell-O so the last thing I wanted to do was watching the Food Network or dream up delicious recipes to add to the blog knowing full well I couldn’t even chew them.

Woe-is-me…eeeh not so much.  I got to go to Providence for the rest of the Memorial Day weekend to cure me of the horrible case of cabin fever I was suffering from, and by Sunday, I could mush around enough to eat something other than yogurt and apple sauce.  I got to visit DePasquale Square on Federal Hill which is home to the best Italian food outside of your grandmother’s kitchen.  We took advantage of the beautiful weather and sat outside at Caffe Dolce Vita which has a huge menu and delicious food!  I ordered the eggplant rollatini which for the first meal in a couple days was like Heaven on Earth.  It was just mushy enough that I didn’t have to chew, but outside of that, I love everything eggplant, especially when its SMOTHERED in cheese!  This puppy had ricotta and mozzarella inside as well as fresh mozzarella melted allll over the top.  It was finished off with their homemade tomato sauce and baked in the oven.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it…

If you ever get a chance to get to Providence, do us all a favor, get to Federal Hill, I promise, you’ve never had Italian food like this….I mean, Frankie Blue Eyes’ favorite restaurant of all time is there!!!

Now, Caffe Dolce Vita was note worthy, but that’s not why I’m writing.  Last night, I had to be in Boston for work (yes, yesterday was a Sunday…no, I don’t want to talk about it).  It actually turned out perfectly because staff was not allowed in the actual dinner of the event…so naturally, I took this opportunity to log into my Open Table account, something I haven’t done since my trip to DC in January, and found restaurants near the Sheraton on Dalton St.  After perusing a couple of menus, I came upon a little place called Sonsie, and their caption? Luck, Love Life.  It became the first draw.  The second was the menu.  It’s an American restaurant with a bit of everything on the menu, fish, steak, pasta.  It’s also pretty moderately priced, which is also always a plus!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a serial menu stalker, I always scope it out before I get there…and then pretend to not already know what I want when I get the menu…buuuuut who doesn’t? Am I right? No? Okay…dagger.  Anyways, I had stalked the menu and knew there was absolutely no question I was getting their Bronzino dish.

Bronzino is a European seabass, so a white fish, and with the grilled fish, they served soft polenta, ricotta spinach and artichoke…and dear LORD!  It was fantastic.  We all know I firmly believe that a great dish is one where each element on the plate is good alone, but also tastes fantastic when you build the elements together.  This was one of those dishes.   The fish was grilled perfectly, the polenta stayed warm which prevented the top from hardening, and I had never had ricotta spinach, and I’m glad that’s changed because if I see it on another menu, it’s mine.  If you do get to check out Sonsie, I highly recommend this dish.

The ambiance is great too, Sonsie is nestled on the famous Newbury Street in Boston.  The floor to ceiling windows/doors open to make the restaurant floor level with the sidewalk which makes for great people watching.  Even the bar area is great with comfortable high chairs and signature cocktails.

Well now that I am able to eat again and enjoy my food, I’m glad I could share with you another delicious spot, except this time in Beantown!  Next time you’re in the area, stop by Sonsie, you should be preeeetty pleased.  This week I should get back into some home cooking so I’ll be sure to include some recipes hopefully later this week.  As always, thanks for reading and until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

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