Shrimp with Pernod, Tarragon and Feta

Shrimp day is always my favorite day. Why can’t we figure out a way to replace chicken tenders day with shrimp day? I really want to write a snappy poem about my deep love of shrimp, except the only word I can think of that rhymes with shrimp is pimp. Pimp, and limp. It may make for a slightly crass poem.  Continue reading “Shrimp with Pernod, Tarragon and Feta”

Cod with Sesame Seed Bagna Cauda and Lacinato Kale

I’m beginning to think that this man can do no wrong. Ottolenghi is becoming my culinary hero. He’s my gastronomic soul mate, people. Quite literally, all of his recipes slay and get in formation. Whenever I flip a page I impulsively blurt out “I see it, I want it.” Ok, I’ll cool it on the Beyoncé references. Or maybe I won’t, you’ll just have to see.  Continue reading “Cod with Sesame Seed Bagna Cauda and Lacinato Kale”

Raw Brussels Sprout Nests with Oyster Mushrooms and Quail Eggs

I’d like to start this out by saying that I have never been a fan of raw brussels sprouts salads. My favorite way to cook brussels sprouts is to roast them in the oven, when they become hot and crispy like a guiltless french fry. I’ve had raw brussels sprouts salads before, but for some reason they never really had any…umph. Any hutzpah. It was mostly just a plate of shaved sprouts, dry from the lack of any dressing, dotted with a few uninspired, dried cranberries. Tart described both the salad and my mood after eating it. But then I made this. Oh, baby. I made this glorious, magical, raw thing.  Continue reading “Raw Brussels Sprout Nests with Oyster Mushrooms and Quail Eggs”

Celery Root Pureé with Spiced Cauliflower and Quail Eggs

This was my first recipe since embarking on the Nopi Challenge, so of course in my typical crazy, obsessive, type-A personality lunacy fastidious nature, I wanted to make sure it came out perfectly. I had to go to more than one store (thanks for nothing, Whole Foods) to find the celery root, but it was absolutely worth the second trip (thanks for everything, Harris Teeter). I opted to serve this dish, which would normally be an appetizer, with a bit of halibut to make it substantial enough for dinner. It was truly a work of sickening beauty. Let’s call it the celebrity of dinners.  Continue reading “Celery Root Pureé with Spiced Cauliflower and Quail Eggs”

Kingbird

Today, I’m ashamed to say, I suffered a massive First World problem. A problem so obscene, so soaked in shame, that I am nearly embarrassed to tell you. I sincerely recommend that, if you aren’t already, you take a seat and a deep breath. Perhaps a swig of water, too. Ok, here it goes. My friend and I were having a problem deciding on where to go to brunch. There, I said it.  Continue reading “Kingbird”

Thip Khao

I’m going to go out on a limb and make an assumption. It could be wrong, it could be right, but it’s just an educated guess. You’ve never had Laotian food, have you? It’s totally understandable if you haven’t, nobody is judging you or anything. I had never had Laotian food myself until just the other day. But now you can try it, so long as you decide to saunter your fine self over to Thip Khao.  Continue reading “Thip Khao”

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe

I’ll begin my thoughts about Kramerbooks & Afterwords with a positive note, which is the bookstore component. I actually really love the bookstore, and have spent many an afternoon nosing my way through the different sections of the store, stealing samples of different books. I happened to buy one of my favorite books, Neither Here Nor There, from Kramerbooks. After having been to the bookstore so many times, I naturally noticed the Afterwords Cafe that is settled in the back of the store. It seemed to always be crowded and buzzy, so my friend and I thought to go there for brunch. It was a poor choice.  Continue reading “Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe”

Convivial

Ok, I get it. Before you say anything or read anything or think about anything, I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated this. If it makes you feel better, I feel a little shameful. I actually felt a legitimate pang of shame crackle in my heart. But I’m back now, dry your tears, dears. Also, I’m here to tell you about my birthday dinner Convivial. On a scale from 1-10, it ranked a clear and obvious “stoopid”.

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So, here’s what’s up with Convivial. It’s French food, but it’s also American food. It’s a casual bistro, but it’s a little upscale. It’s a perfect, hodgepodge conglomerate of wonderful things, and it works.

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Bread. I love you.

Before you even order, you are graced with this lovely bag of beauty. It’s essentially the sexiest breadstick that you ever will eat. They are warm, closely toeing the line of piping hot, and they are accompanied by a fruity, sweet olive oil.

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I really had a deep, spiritual moment over this.

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I elected to start with a hot salad, which was a mixture of fava beans, turnips, spring onions and quinoa. It honestly sounds like it shouldn’t make sense. Fava beans and spring onions are, well, springy. Turnips are wintry, and quinoa is the grain that brings it all together. But it’s good, oh it’s good. I live for fava beans, and am honestly a little gutted that they are only available for a short period of time, because fava beans are the freshest little bean there is. This salad was refreshing and clean, and tasted like Spring. Plus, it’s healthy. Whoever complained about something that is delicious AND healthy? But really, it’s like a double whammy of perfection.

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Next stop? Fish shop. I’ll eat pretty much anything that’s plucked out of the sea, and today’s choice was my good friend, daurade. It was served atop a pile of grilled ratatouille, which was smoky, smooth and wonderful. There was also a fantastic, fried slice of zucchini on top. Because really. It’s ok to eat something fried when it’s in vegetable form, amiright? That came topped with a briny, olive tapenade. It was a little bit of flavor overload.

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Get ready for the definition of “winner, winner, chicken dinner”. Get ready for the greatest chicken dish you ever will eat. In your life. Get ready to come prepared with your smelling salts, because this chicken will actually make you pass out. And you may need someone to revive you, scoop you up from the ground, and place you back in your seat to enjoy your plate of loveliness.

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So this is what I mean when I say that Convivial is a French/American conglomerate. This chicken dish is a strangely perfect mixture of fried chicken and coq au vin. It has the crisp texture of fried chicken, combined with the richness of coq au vin. I don’t get it, and maybe it isn’t made to be understood. It’s just made to be enjoyed and loved. And you will, oh you will surely love this.

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Ok, so the only thing that I was like halfway annoyed about was the fact that I didn’t get a free dessert. It’s probably because I’m cheap. It’s a good thing my parents insisted on getting a birthday dessert that was aptly named “Celebration Cake”. It was probably the richest, most dense (yet spongy and light), delicious thing I’ve stabbed my fork into. Just pretend it’s your birthday and order it.

So, final thoughts: Convivial is the my newest home skillet biscuit of a restaurant. It’s new, but it’s old. It’s traditional, it’s unique, it’s beautiful. You need it.

Convivial
801 O St. NW
Washington, DC 20001

 

 

Garlicky Black-Pepper Shrimp and Black-Eyed Peas

I realized that I’ve been cooking for myself over the past few months all wrong. I can see myself now. Every few days I would traipse around the aisles of Whole Foods, buying things in small doses. For a while it looked like I was grocery shopping for a rabbit. But then one day last week my brain decided to switch itself back on, and together we came up with the idea of cooking one full recipe of something and eating it throughout the week (or longer).  Continue reading “Garlicky Black-Pepper Shrimp and Black-Eyed Peas”

How To: Use a French Press

I drink four cups of coffee a day. Yep, I’m aware that it’s a solid amount of caffeine. Normally when I tell people I’m met with a facial expression that is a cross between confusion and pity. It’s like I’ve told them I drink lukewarm sewage sludge in the morning. But I, like most people, have an easier time remembering my name in the morning after a few cups of coffee, so I won’t be stopping soon. Also it tastes good, so that doesn’t hurt. Continue reading “How To: Use a French Press”