Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Waffle from Marvin's

I woke up this morning to a beautiful day. A perfect preview to the most wonderful month of weather in this city. September in Washington D.C is almost as perfect as starting your Sunday and the week off at Marvin's on U street.

My absolute most favorite meal of the day will always be breakfast. But the joy of weekends means the day does not start as early and thus brunch was invented for people like me-the lovers of the morning meal who stay between the sheets just a little late on those two special days of the week.

Just like my hunt for the perfect Mexican Restaurant- I am always trying new brunch spots. However, none ever compare or deliver like Marvin's at 14th and U street NW. It is my go to spot for that weekend meal that is in between the hours of 11 a.m and 1 p.m. Not that this place even needs a review or mention because pretty much everyone knows about this fantastic food spot. Let me be clear- this is no testament or comment to Marvin's as a bar or dinner spot. I am only attesting to the Sunday brunch.

Lets start with as soon as you walk in the door- the fact that there is never a wait. No matter the time or how many folks seem to be lallygagging around the bar area, it seems we are always immediately sat down-even without a reservation. Once seated, everyone is instantly served a shot glass full of orange juice and a glass of water.

From there I ordered the Mimosa of the day, which this particular day was a Pear Mimosa, and it was smooth, crisp and wonderful (and mostly champagne!). All mimosas are only $4!!! Great breakfast booze bargain! The table ordered coffee as well, which Marvin's serves in a French Press. This technique produces incredible tasting, strong, rich yet smooth coffee that for those who are serious about their morning joe will truly appreciate.

The coffee and mimosa are just a introduction to the rest of what can only be described as ...heaven. I always order the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Waffle, which is scrambled eggs, white cheddar cheese and applewood smoked bacon sandwiched between two Belgian waffles. It is served with a side of maple syrup and a pile of fresh fruit. Every bite is delicious. The eggs aren't too soggy, the bacon is not tough, and the the very outer layer of the waffle is a little crisp in order to hold the sandwich together, while the rest of the waffle is soft and fluffy. And what is the price of this heaven? $10! That's it. What a deal....more like a steal!

If you are more a die-hard Eggs Benedict bruncher- you can turn to what my best friend always orders. Eggs Benedict that is made with a biscuit! Apparently in the world of Eggs Benedict, this small change in bread is an incredible variation and to us girls from the south- it is the best way to serve to serve this morning meal.

Along with fantastic food, drinks and decor, Marvin's has some of the best servers. I understand that many have not had the same luck with the evening bartenders but the Sunday brunch service is unbeatable. Not to mention they all are so freaking stylish AND gorgeous that I swear it makes the coffee richer, the food quicker, and the morning better.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Couscous Casserole

I don't know why I have an affinity to want to throw all my ingredients into the same pot/pan/dish. But I am a big fan of making up recipes where I can call it a "hash" or "casserole" and it all comes together in the in one dish. I find comfort in what my mother used to deem "shovel food". You have one bowl of something that doesn't need to be cut or eaten separately and you can just shovel the goodness of it into your mouth. As if I need to eat any faster than the pace that I already inhale my food.

The problem is, often times, you say casserole or hash and people imagine something that is all one color and resembles what Doug Funnie was served in the cafeteria. Side note: I believe that this is the same reason people underestimate a nice Salisbury Steak. But the real problem with casseroles and hash is that they often times ARE made of really gross stuff! Shepards Pie..ew! Tuna Casserole..yuck! But I like to think that my casserole experiments stray away from these mistakes..and the one I made last night..was yummy and shovelicous!

-1 cup of chicken broth
-1 box of couscous (I use the the brand "Near East" Toasted Pine Nut flavor)
-1 cup spinach
-1 cup broccoli
-1 cup of cauliflower
-1 cup sauteed mushrooms
-1/2 cup of shallots
- 1 garlic clove minced
-2 tablespoons chopped basil
-1 tablespoons chopped oregano
-1/4 cup of Parmesan
-1/4 cup of grated Havarti with Dill cheese
-1 egg (beaten)
- dash of salt and pepper
-2 diced boneless and skinless chicken breasts
-1/4 cup dry white wine
-1/4 fat free sour cream

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and get ready to rock three pans at once!!
2. Put an inch of chicken broth in a sauce pan and add raw cauliflower and broccoli. Cover with a lid and put over medium high heat. Once the water boils turn the heat to low and let steam until the vegetables are soft. Once veggies are soft, drain and set aside.
3. While broccoli and cauliflower steams, follow the instructions for the couscous. Use chicken broth instead of water. When it comes time to add the couscous to the boiling liquid throw the spinach in as well. Fluff as directed.
4. While the veggies and the couscous are going on their own, heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add chicken and mushrooms and cook until brown.
4. Once everything is all cooked and drained mix all other ingredients together in a baking dish
3. Bake for 30 minutes and let cool for 5 minutes.
4. Serve and shovel :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Homemade White Wine Sangria and Margaritas

The weather, this past weekend, out on the Chesapeake Bay was perfect! My best girlfriend has a house on the bay and we escape D.C and go out to spend weekends laying out on her pier . We have a routine that begins about 10 a.m and goes until about 4:30 p.m. We like to start the day out on the pier in bikinis accompanied with coffee and summer must-reads. I'm currently gobbling down Ruth Reichl's "Tender at the Bone".

But...we get in a fair amount of caffeine and reading for the next few hours until it is time for something with a little more sustenance and we head into the house for lunch. Upon our return to the pier we begin the afternoon beverages of either the most amazing Margaritas you have ever tasted OR my newly perfected Sangria recipe. I was originally raised in the arm-pit of the state of Texas, a.k.a El Paso. One of the very few things I have taken from those years in the Ol' Border Town is my love and appreciation for quality Margarita. This means a beverage sans sweet and sour mix!

The Best Margarita.
(to get the perfect mixture of ingredients this beverage is better by the glass)

~ 2.25 oz. Tequila (roughly a shot and a half)
~ 1.5 oz of Agave Nectar (a shot)
~ 3oz. orange juice (2 shots)
~ 1 good and juicy lime squeezed completely= about 2 oz of juice (keep the lime and throw it in at the end)
~ 3/4 - 1 cup of water
~ ice
~ Margarita Salt

1. Combine Tequila, Agave, O.J, fresh squeezed lime juice, and water. Stir well.
2. Rub the already squeezed lime along the rim of the glass and then place the rim in Margarita Salt.
3. Carefully place ice and lime in glass without knocking off the salt on the rim.
4. Pour beverage over ice and lime.
5. Lick, sip, and enjoy :)

Homemade White Wine Sangria

~ 1 peach
~ 1 pear
~ 1 green apple
~ 1 orange
~ 1 lemon
~ cup of strawberries
~ cup of blueberries
~ cup of blackberries
~ cup of halved white grapes
~ 1/4 cup of Agave Nectar
~ 2 bottles of Pinot Grigio
~ 1 bottle of Champagne
~ 2 cups of Peach Rum

1. Cut up peach, pear, green apple, orange, lemon, strawberries, and white grapes. Don't bother peeling because the outsides of these fruits are packed with flavor!
2. Stir fruit, blueberries, blackberries, and Rum in a large bowl. Cover and let marinate in the refridgerator for 1-2 hours. However could go overnight.
3. Stir Agave, Champagne, and Pinot Grigio into fruit. Let this sit (covered) at least 2-3 hours or even overnight in the refridgerator.
4. Pour, sip, enjoy.

Note: I pour mine over ice but this is perfectly enjoyable without ice. Also the fruit packs a real punch so be prepared to not remain sober...:)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Turkey Burger and Sangria from The Heights

The Burger Battle is very much like all categorical food competitions.

Where can I get the best Burger in DC? Where can I get the best Pizza in D.C ? Where can I get the best Margarita in D.C?

When I dine, when I spend money, and when I go whatever distance to curb my craving- I want to cut out all the wasted time and money and just get "The Best". The problem with awarding "the best" is obviously that the opinion is relative to the consumer. For example, the common opinion held that one can find the best Mexican food in D.C. at Lauriol Plaza, in my opinion, is NOT true. So I qualify this post (and all future posts) with an understanding that perhaps someone out there will think I am full of crap! (I'm aware this is fully possible).

But when I crave that delicious, juicy and flavor-filled burger experience, I head straight to my local favorite- The Heights. I order the Turkey Burger cooked medium, with Swiss cheese, and I substitute the Sun dried Tomato Pesto instead of Red Pepper Relish that it comes with. I can guarantee that this burger trumps any beef burger out there AND is better for you! It comes on a lightly toasted Onion Roll with these hand cut perfect fries (even though they never give me enough fries). The burger is BURSTING with flavor and juicy (if ordered medium). I know what you are thinking..if you are going to get a burger, you might as well get the big fatty fat chunk-mc-gee burger. And of course, there are those guys that think ground turkey is for sissy boys. However, I have tested my theory on many male and female friends and they all agree that it is one of the best burgers they have tried.

Given the weather, this entree is really nice when accompanied with the White Wine Sangria. At the Heights, it is perfectly refreshing with hints of peach, blueberries, melon, apples and citrus fruits. It does not strongly lean towards any particular fruit flavor and it isn't really sweet or tangy. It is just smooth, light and a wonderful outdoor cocktail. (A pitcher is only $25 and can easily quench the thirst of 4 people).

This duo, on the patio of The Heights, will cost you $20 bucks. But you leave with a fully satisfied craving and a slight buzz.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Footloose and picture free!

Every book has a first chapter, every play- an opening I suppose I should begin with an introduction.

I don't really know where this idea will go. I have always been extremely interested in journalism, news, books, media and mainly anything in print. I don't really think I have anything that interesting to say, but would like to produce something that expresses my opinion to those who care i.e my grandmother and maybe my best friends. Which is the beauty of blogs- anyone can find a medium for their voice.

I didn't have to think long at all for a blog topic because I have developed an unquenchable thirst for all things food related. Which of course means I sound like I am 8,000 lbs. Insert mental picture of extremely large woman who lives with lots of cats and blogs about her latest binge. But- sorry to disappoint- that is definitely not the case.

I am a 23 year old graduate of the University of Georgia. Me and two great friends moved to Mt. Pleasant a year ago and I began cooking for them and realized I love cooking- even though many times it is not without error or mini disasters. When you enjoy cooking it becomes a greater interest in food and all things regarding it.

Thus, no surprise I really love trying new restaurants and finding that thing on the menu that I know I will get every time I return. I am a serious creature of habit and usually figure out a way that I like a dish or which dish to order at a restaurant and I repeat the choice often. Definitely, not always a good thing.

I also discovered I love reading books about cooking and food. Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" is no page-turner, but the way she writes about food and the impact of food on her family could turn a anexoric model into a foodaholic! I currently am chomping down on Ruth Reichl's books. She is a phenomenal storyteller!

With all these parts of my life that revolve around my interest in food I'm going to attempt to mold them into blog content. The title came from the idea that my family and friends will read my posts and if I can't be there or I run to the bathroom they can do me a favor and "Order me this...". Future posts will be about meals I eat out, meals I eat in, and meals I wish I could eat- in addition to a sprinkling of commentary on all other things food related.

Important Note: So many blogs and food blogs revolve around photos. This one will not. I have a super cheap digital camera that gets dusty because I use it oh so often. I also wouldn't even know how to begin having a photograph really depict the absolute heaven or hell of a dish. I personally think that with eating and cooking- looks don't matter. I know this goes against all fancyshmancy culinary theory. But if good food meant it needed to be pretty- no one would eat refried beans or pea soup...i.e the perfect twins of poop and boogers...