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March Baker’s Dozen

March 31, 2009

Monthly news bites about baking, recipes, or recipes I want to try:

  • I love the idea of these [cupcake popsicles], although I don’t know if I would go out of the way to buy a special pan.
  • The Cherry Blossom Festival is in full swing. Check out these [restaurants] adding cherry cocktails, entrees and desserts to their menu in celebration.
  • Make your own [peeps], at where else, but Martha Stewart. Speaking of, check out the top 37 entries at the [Washington Post Peep Show].
  • James Beard award nominations were annouced this month.  Check out the [complete list] of semifinalists as well as a slimmed down list of the [D.C. nominees].
  • Still a few more days to enter the Dunkin Donuts [Create-A-Donut] contest.  Entries due April 7.
  • Love this article about creative things to do with [condensed milk] since I have an extra can leftover from the key lime pie I made earlier this month.
  • Also from Serious Eats, this series about [Cooking with a Friend] is a great idea for those who live alone but love to cook.
  • While searching for [bread pudding] recipes, I stumbled on this [donut bread pudding].  I am tempted to make it and see how it turns out, but I will probably omit the sugar.
  • These [velvet kisses] remind me of Bakerella’s [cake pops] which I have yet to master.  Still, I want to try this adorable variation.
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Jalapeno Corn Muffins

March 27, 2009

Since my full time job takes up the majority of my waking hours I have to schedule my baking around personal or professional special events.  Lucky for me I work on a particular project that enjoys throwing birthday parties for it’s members.  There are 11 of us, so if you do the math, that’s pretty much one party a month.

corn-muffins1

Our latest party is today and features a Tex Mex theme.  The birthday boy prefers salty and spicy foods.  This is a challenge for me as I am sensitive to the smallest amounts of heat.  The baker in me wanted to ignore his requests and just make a giant cake.  But the birthday girl in me knows how important it is to get everything you want and more on your birthday.

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Charlie Palmer: the Quest for the Perfect Steak Begins

March 24, 2009

Charlie Palmer Steak
101 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001
Nearest Metro: Judiciary Square

Despite February being a month filled with restaurant deals and steals, it was hard for us to ignore the calls of steak. D.C. is known for it’s plethora of steak houses, and the mood hit us hard. We decided to stop by the Hill outpost (other locations include New York and Las Vegas) and check out the scenery. For us, Charlie Palmer Steak did not give off a good first impression, but patience is always a virtue as the main course was well worth waiting for.
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Vapiano’s

March 23, 2009

Vapianos
1800 M St. #6 N.W., Washington D.C. 20036
Nearest Metro: Farragut North

cafeteria style ordering

cafeteria style ordering

 

An international concept, Vapiano’s originated in Germany; its first US outposts dot the D.C. metro area.  But those who don’t live here in D.C. shouldn’t fret yet, according to their website, they plan to expand even further and open 100 US locations.

When you get to the restaurant, you are greeted at the host stand and given a “debt card” where all you charge all your purchases throughout the bar and restaurant.  It was a beautiful night Friday night, the patio was packed and open, so when I arrived around 7:00 pm they were out of debt cards.  Luckily, someone was checking out and two minutes later I was able to meet my friends at one of the long, family style dining tables, perfect for chatting up cute strangers.

There are no servers at this restaurant; everything is made to order, cafeteria style.  You wait in line at at a designated spot (depending on what you are ordering) and watch your chef create one of their signature pastas or pizzas.  The price is right too, nothing is over $11.00.

I ordered the classic pomodoro with a little cream and my friends split the carbonara.  The servings aren’t as large as typical American chains, and I was able to finish on my own.  While the food wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, it was very satisfying and a very fun atmosphere.  The happy hour specials are pretty decent too, with three dollar house wine and Peroni on tap.  I love the concept of “fast food noodles” and this really elevates it for a fun night out or an inexpensive date.

Pi Day

March 15, 2009

pi-day-1

I actually didn’t even realize that it was Pi Day (3/14) when I planned to make key lime pie for my coblogger, good old Pete.  He asked if I would make him a treat and I said sure – under one condition – that it was something I have never made before.

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Nooshi Happy Hour

March 6, 2009

Nooshi Noodles and Sushi
1120 19th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
Nearest Metro: Dupont Circle

Last week I met my Mom for Happy Hour, or as they call it at Nooshi “Crazy Hours”, between four and seven pm for half priced drinks and a few quick bites.  Let me first say that while everything is really inexpensive and tasty, it is not the best place to have happy hour with your Mom.  The noise combined with the terrible service really turned her off to the restaurant, not to mention GW students seem to flock to this place, making her feel out of place. 

We started with Edamame, and then split the chicken satay, Seven Spices Tofu “fries” and the Oodles Spring Onion Cakes, for a mini meal of appitizers.  Everything was really tasty, especially the Oodles Spring Onion cakes, which were fried noodle pancakes with green onions and a sweet and sour dipping sauce.  We also really liked the tofu “fries” which were thin pieces of tofu cut like french fries, fried and then heavily spiced.  We had a similar dish at Tara Thai in Rockville called “Golden Triangles”, however, the tofu there was much thicker.  I liked this better because the tofu was crispy all over.  The only thing I would change about that dish would be that they had a dipping sauce as the tofu is a bit dry.   Luckily, we had the peanut sauce from the Chicken Satay, which was also delicious. 

We both ordered a glass of wine which was a mistake – we should know better to order wine when everyone else is ordering cocktails.   In hindsight I would have liked to try one of their Mojitos which come in a really pretty narrow glass, but I wasn’t in the mood at the time.

My mom said she wouldn’t go back, but I would be interested in going for dinner and to try the sushi, perhaps with someone younger who didn’t mind all the students and the noise.  But we both agreed it was a nice, inexpensive treat that left us full without feeling stuffed.  I would definitely eat there again when the craving for a quick Asian inspired bite hits me.

February’s Baker’s Dozen

February 28, 2009

Monthly news bites about baking, recipes, or recipes I want to try:

gnocchi, made with love

gnocchi, made with love

  • Check out this [guide to making gnocchi].  All of my hard work finally paid off as I can proudly say last weekend was my first successful attempt at creating these heavenly pillows.
  • I felt it was time to expand my baking repertoire so for Valentine’s Day I made this [lemon tart].  I’m really glad I did, because it was so lemony and delicious.
  • Looking for new inspiration?  Check out the World’s [50 best food blogs] if you’re looking for something new to whip up in the kitchen.
  • Attention DC Top Chef Fans:  Carla Hall will be teaching cooking lessons at [L’Academie de Cuisine] and [CulinAerie].  Check their websites for schedules and class times.
  • I can’t say enough about Martha’s [one bowl chocolate cake].  A coworker made it the other day and it was moist and perfect.  This will be my go to chocolate cake recipe for now.
  • I know Valentine’s Day is long over but this list of [romantic things to do in Paris] sounds amazing.  And the best news is you don’t even need a boyfriend to do any of it.
  • Also from Dori Greenspan: the [perfect pear tart].  I’m going to make it for a dinner party I’m having with friends next month.  I’m really coveting [her book], its on my list of cook books to buy.
  • Next year I’m going to be making a King’s cake since I found [the prize]!  I won’t lie, I find a lot of them ugly, but I like the look of this one at [Baking Bites], and it’s got a cream cheese filling.