Thursday, July 31, 2008

Molly Had a Little Lamb

Today is the last day of that whole blogging-for-a-month-about-food-thing. After 31 days of that (give or take those days that I…forgot…) it’s back to the usual, where you all wait around anxiously for the next post to appear. Thankfully, Interneters, you won’t have to wait long, as I’m off on an adventure this weekend, this adventure of my own design that will take me to such far away places as Ohio.

I will say, however that as a last day of writing about food, I went out with a bang, of which I will tell you. And that telling is this:

BGR: The Burger Joint DC is delicious.

AOH and I went there for lunch today. I’d read a snipped about the place in the Washington Post a couple weeks back, and it’s been on the brain ever since. To give you a reference to how tasty of a burger it was, I will tell you only that AOH and I didn’t speak for about 15 minutes because we were too busy shoving food into our mouths. I would not have been surprised if bits of fries and bun started flying everywhere, we were eating so fast and voraciously. We couldn’t enough. AOH had a classic cheeseburger with The Works, and This Girl tried The Greek – a lamb burger with Tzaziki, cucumber, onion, FETA!, and some other deliciousness, I believe. As I sit here, I am still tasting it, and every once in awhile I burp up a little garlic.


The fries are quite good, too. Well done, so they’re not mushy, and big, thick-cut with just the right amount of grease. BGR has shakes, too, which look divine, but we passed on those. Guess we’ll just have to go back again to try them. Oh. Damn. Boo. Hiss. No. No. You can’t make me drink chocolate milkshakes. Ew. Gross. No.

And what’s better? There’s a TV in the joint that they have tuned to the Food Network. After the while of silence save for chewing, I peeled my eyes away from the television, my face and hands covered in tasty burger goodness and said to AOH, “Why aren’t we here every day for lunch? We can eat burgers and watch Food Network.”

AOH responded with only a shrug, the rest of her entire being occupied with her burger and fries.

At some point we managed to squeeze ourselves out of the booth and waddle back to the office.

“I can’t walk quickly,” I warned AOH as we pushed through the door and into the swamp. “I might yarf all over the place if I do.” AOH agreed.

Thankfully, there was no yarfing, though there was a small amount of uncomfortableness going on in my tum after lunch. Which I guess is what happens when you inhale all sorts of pungent meats and cheeses and condiments and top it off with fries and a diet coke.

But it was totally worth it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Up on the Roof

I have a roofdeck.

Have I told you that?

I have a roofdeck, and for some reason, save the 4th of July, it is almost always empty whenever I go up there. You can see the National Cathedral clear as day in the distance, and further out, in the opposite direction you can just catch the tip of the Washington Monument. Sometimes, the very tippy top of the Capitol. And sometimes, it's more important to sit up there and catching that last few rays of light fade into darkness than it is to go downstairs and eat dinner.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer's Blockbuster

Friday was an exercise in patience. And also, an exercise in technology.

Lindsay and I met up at 6:45 to see Dark Knight at the Uptown on Connecticut Avenue. We should get there early, we decided, there might be a line. There was. Thankfully it moved quickly (for a line) and our prattling on about how excited we were to see the movie kept our patience in check, since there was still a half hour to go before previews would even start, prattle that also kept us from being too terribly annoyed by the mugginess that has consumed the District these days.

We filed in, eyeing the long line at concessions. “Seats first,” we said to each other, making our way to the balcony. We found two seats together in the quickly fading availability and stashed our stuff.

“I’m going to get something to eat, I’m starving,” I stated.

“Me too!” Lindsay replied.

“Okay, I’ll go, you stay here with the seats. What do you want to eat?” I asked.

“Umm…” she pondered this question seriously hemming and hawing over the options and we threw around the idea that we should both go to the concession stand. It was hard to say the best option, because we didn’t know what the options were. “Or,” Lindsay piped up, “take your cell phone, and then call me when you get down there and tell me what they have.”

“Perfect,” I said. And I did just that. The end result was a classic: Two cherry cokes and two small popcorns, a perfect combination for a Friday night out with one of your gal pals, a summer blockbuster filling the screen, the acting so good it’s almost painful to watch, the main villain character so creepy and disturbing.

Never mind the fact that I finished my popcorn before the movie even started. Never mind that at all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Speaking of Food....

Yesterday DC Restaurant week was announced for this August. And guess who's excited?


And Smart Girl that I am, knowing that reservations for Restaurant Week fill up quickly, I made a reservation for a prime time on the Friday night toward the end of the Restaurant Week at a very fine restaurant called Central that I, and some of my friends, have wanted to try for a long time.

Again: Smartest Girl in the World! Hooray!

And then I clicked on the link to participating restaurants.

And Central? Not so much participating. At all.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fruits of Summer

Now would probably be a good time to mention that I love watermelon. Now that I think about it, I think I love it just as much as I love corn on the cob, but in a different way. Which is why this morning, when I was at Safeway, I heaved one giant watermelon out of the bin and added it to my cart with the milk and bread. Milk, bread, watermelon, diet pepsi. What more does a girl need?

Apparently, more people living in her house. Because now, after I’ve just spent 30 minutes butchering the enormous melon down to manageable pieces*, juices spraying everywhere and pooling on my counter and dripping down the sides, I have three huge containers of the sweet red fruit. Not that I’m complaining, but this is one of those moments where I think to myself, hey, maybe I over-bought? I guess I could have just gotten a half of a melon or one of those pre-cut containers that would last a few days rather than over a week, but to be quite honest, those just don’t taste the same. It’s like once you cut into the watermelon, it loses all those sweet juices completely, unlike when you hack it up yourself, when you only lose some of the sweet juices, and that’s just because countertops are magnets for things like watermelon juice, and you still get some off the juice when you toss it all in a Ziplock container, making it that much sweeter.

Did anyone else’s dad carve baskets out of whole watermelons? Because mine did. It was one of my favorite things when I was little, because he didn’t do it very often, but when he did, it was awesome. And once it was all carved we’d fill it with fruit salad. Mom was at a store one day, though, and found a glass bowl that was made to look like a carved watermelon basket, and we’ve used that ever since. And as far as I know, Dad has never carved another watermelon. Bummer, though I remember the process as being very time consuming, what with having to cut the melon specs first, scoop out the insides (usually with a melon baller) before the carving part could even begin. So maybe not a bummer that we now have this glass basket, as not only did it save time, but I’m sure a lot of grumbling from Dad.

*I had a moment, at that point, where I wondered if this was somewhat akin to butchering a cow, cutting each slab into more manageable pieces, and then cutting those pieces into neat, bite-sized, presentable bits that people want to eat. Though I doubt butchering a cow smells as pretty.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Corny, But True.

Tonight I had some corn on the cob with my dinner, and I must tell you that corn on the cob is one of my favorite summer foods. Any fresh produce is awesome to me, but there’s something special about corn on the cob.

When we used to live in Dolton, we belonged to Queen of Apostles, and every year, sometime around August I seem to remember, the parish would put on Queen’s Fest. The parking lot next to the IC was filled with carnival rides and games you could never quite win, and the area in front of the church and school was lined with food booth after food booth. And the bingo tent. We Can’t. Forget. The Bingo Tent. When I was little all of these seemed big and as if to stretch on forever, but were they to still hold the Fest and were I to go back now, I’m guessing it probably wouldn’t seem so huge. (Much like how when I was little, I thought my mom was tall. Spoiler Alert! She’s not so much.) Our family used to co-run the gyro booth, serving up for three days straight delicious meat on pita with tzatziki sauce. (Why? I don’t know. We are not in the least bit Greek. The closest our people come is Poland, which is a TOTALLY different kind of food.)

Thankfully, I was too little to do any actual work, so I was allowed to run free among the sights and sounds of the Fest. And when I got hungry, I’d get tickets from Mom and Dad and get food. I’m pretty sure that they let me eat whatever I wanted during those three days, so basically my diet consisted of maybe half a gyro, a hot dog, and 16 funnel cakes.

And corn on the cob.

Over the course of those three days of festing I would typically eat about half an acre’s worth of ears of corn, cooked (steamed, maybe?) in burlap sacks on enormous grills, the husks pulled down perfectly over the end of the cob to make a cool handle for the hot ear. Huge glass jars of butter sat on the tables in front of the grill, and numerous salt and pepper shakers were strewn in between. You could dip and shake until your heart’s content.

It was the best corn on the cob I have ever had in my entire life.

Sadly, Queen’s Fest is no longer, but thankfully, the memory remains.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday's Food For Thought

Earlier today I was looking up things about novenas and patron saints, and I came across this:

San Lorenzo ( Lawrence )- patron saint of restaurants, pasta, candy makers and dieters

For all of you out there wondering, Yes, Virginia, God does have a sense of humor.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It Will Be Fall Soon. Right?

First of all, for those of you who may be wondering, HO did indeed make it to dinner last night, and we were all very happy about that. We were doubly happy when she broke out the Roman tokens she brought us, and I am proud to say that I now own my very own Popener.* And not only is it a Popener, on the one side there is an image of our current Pope Benedict, but on the OTHER side there is a picture of PJP II. So now, whenver I crack open a Miller Lite, my drinking will be blessed by the two popes I have known so far in my lifetime.

I am truly blessed.

Secondly, the other day I threw caution to the wind, turned up the air conditioning, and busted out my crock pot because I was in the mood for chili. And it was delish. It still is, actually, and frankly, even better than day 1, as chili is wont to be. Who cares that it's 95 degrees outside and that chili is more of a fall and winter food than a blazingly humid and hot summer food? Right now, I sure don't. All I care about is that this chili is AWESOME.

*Popener (n.) - a bottle opener with an image of the Pope on it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Pasta Primaries

Tonight, I'm having a few of my gal pals over for some pesto pasta, wine, and Romaniscing.* Wd were supposed to have this dinner on Tuesday night, but my friend HO had to cancel because of work. HO works for a firm that does media for various and sundry Republican candidates. We are all very proud of her because she is very much in her dream job**. The downside to her being in her dream job, however is that she works a lot. A LOT. And when election season hits, the workload goes from A LOT to MASSIVE QUANTITIES THAT WOULD KILL EVEN THE MOST SANE PERSON WHO LOVES THEIR JOB.

And this? This is election season, people. Can you hear the engines revving? I can. And it sounds very much like what you hear when a friend wants desperately to see something other than the inside of an editing room and loop after loop of the governor of whatever-state endorsing some other candidate for something.

As of right now, it's 5:45 and I haven't heard a peep from our little HO as to whether she'll be able to make it tonight or not. Either way, though, we've all learned our lesson before, which is: HO or No HO, pesto pasta and wine will be consumed. Though maybe we'll hold off on the Romaniscing for another time. I just hope that time isn't November 5.

*Romaniscing (v.) - Sitting around regaling each other with tales of when we all studied abroad together in Rome during college. Usually involves wine and swinging arm motions.

**HER dream job. HERS.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We Ain't Goin' Out Like That...But Like THIS.

Yesterday when I got back from my weekend in Chicago, I realized that there was little to no food in my apartment. And if there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I get very nervous when there is little to no food in my apartment. There is probably some deep, slightly strange, psychological reason dating back to some pseudo-traumatic event in my childhood, or maybe last week, for while I feel this way, but it's true. I just feel better when I have a full fridge.

Needless to say, one of the first things I did I got back to DC was run up to Trader Joe's and Safeway and stock up. Over the weekend some of us had been talking about things you should avoid when eating, namely high fructose corn syrup. And on this latest shopping trip, with the discussion fresh in my mind, I was taking careful note to NOT buy things with high fructose corn syrup in them, or other such chemical ingredients. (For example, hydrogenated oils.) So I'm at Safeway, throwing things into my cart, and I can't help but be tempted by the boxes of macaroni & cheese. A) Because I was starving, and almost everything in the grocery store was sounding good to me about then, and 2) Because I love macaroni & cheese. LOVE. IT.

But since, as I said, this healthy eating conversation was fresh in my mind, and since it was on sale, I decided to pick up a box of organic macaroni & cheese. I figured I'd like to have it on hand for any such night that I come home and simply cannot bear to actually make something a little more nutritious. And wouldn't you know it, last night was one of those nights.

I get home from a quick jaunt up to Baltimore, throw some water on to boil, and pull a turkey hot dog out of the freezer, and the box of organic macaroni & cheese from the cabinet. At this point, I am a Sexy Jackpot Star and the Smartest, Healthy Eatingest Girl in the World. The buzzer buzzed and things came together in a bowl and I sat down on the couch to dig in to dinner.

Oh, dear Interneters, there are so many positives to eating healthily. Ditching chemicals from your diet is always a good thing.

Except when they leave your macaroni & cheese tasting like chalky cardboard that all the salt in the world can't help with an aftertaste that is just....not worth the muscles it takes to mush the noodles around in your mouth. Turkey dog - Good. Organic macaroni & cheese - Not.

I don't care if Velveeta could withstand the apocalypse and there is no such thing as powdered orange cheese in nature. If I'm going to ingest chemicals that could potentially harm my innards at a later date, you can damn well bet that I'm going to do it with a big blue box of Kraft.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm Not Sorry

Some of you (you meaning YOU, RHW) may be wondering (wondering meaning bitching) why I haven't posted for the past few days. Some of you may even be thinking to yourselves, "She sucks at this game," or "She has TOTALLY fallen down on her promise of posting every day for a month about food."

And you may be wrong. But you may be right.

But I have a very, very good reason for falling down on the job this past weekend. And that reason is: I Was Busy.

I was very busy eating, you see. And I was very excited about all of this eating - starting with the impromptu cookout Friday night at my sister Anne-Marie's house. The problem was I couldn't explain all this joy of cookoutness to you all because I wasn't supposed to be in Chicago.

Or, at least, my mutherrr wasn't supposed to know I was in Chicago. And seeing as how she's surprisingly consistent about checking this site, I didn't want to take the chance and have her call up Annie in confusion and the cover would be blown.

We were covering, of course, the fact that we were throwing her a surprise retirement party the next afternoon. Where there would be an obscene amount of food.

So don't worry, dear Interneters, I may not have been writing about food this weekend, but I was certainly eating it. Or as I like to call it, Doing Research.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pissed Off, Party of One, Please

After I was done having a hissy fit on Wisconsin Avenue (due to the American Valet re-heeling my shoes while at the same time de-patenting the patent leather aspect of my shoes and making them simply very shiny regular leather) in Tenleytown today, dropping F-bombs left, right, and center in front of Roebeck’s and some Green Peace volunteers, I realized that my shoes may be ruined, but I was still starving.
Thankfully, there is a Whole Foods just behind the Roebeck’s, so I made a beeline for their salad and hot bars. It is a gastronomic wonderland back there, I tell you. Expensive as hell, but frankly, at that point, I was still so hopping mad about my shoes that I didn’t even mind Whole Foods (or, as my sister Lizzy likes to call it – Whole Paycheck) prices.

And for the low, low price of $16 and some change, I had some pieces of General Tso’s chicken, a samosa of some sort, twice-cooked beef, a few of these other chicken things wrapped up like a dumpling of sorts, and a separate container of tomatoes and mini-mozzarellas, asparagus, and a lettuce wedge salad. Not whole servings of all of this, mind you, just tastes and bits and a spoonful or a dash.

It was the only thing that kept my lunch hour afloat. Unfortunately I had to walk back past the American Valet on my way to the metro, and it was all I could do to not fling my lovingly created lunch at their window and watch bleu cheese dressing slide down in thick globs.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

God Bless Central Air Conditioning

Here's your food-related thought for the day:

Walking around outside in DC these days is like walking through soup.

And yet, here we are, masses of us, wandering to and fro, sucking it all down with each step. I only wish it was gazpacho or vichyssois.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

London Calling

Sometimes it's nice to just come home from work only to go back out immediately.* Such is life when you only have imaginary roommates, but enjoy being around people. Thankfully, DC is a big town with lots of people - old people, young people, smart people, dumb people - many of whom were packed into Politics & Prose this evening when I popped in to be around people because hanging out at home with imaginary roommates just didn't seem like fun tonight.

As I found out from the barista (Baristo? Because he was male?) in P&P's basement cafe, the crowd was there to hear senator Jim Webb (D-VA), speak on his new book. Though it was packed to the bookstore's gills upstairs listening to Webb, the cafe was quiet and open tables were a-plenty. I settled down with my laptop and ordered one of my most favorite discoveries since moving to DC: the London Fog.

London Fog: Earl Grey tea mixed with honey and steamed soy milk and served in a big, oversized mug, though smaller than those popularized by that one sitcom on that one station some years ago. Not that big, no. But big enough to last through pecking away at a few pages of what might be the beginning of a short story but what will probably be abandoned on my hard drive for days and weeks on end until I come back to it or forget about it completely.

It is the perfect drink for being around people when tucked in the basement of a bookstore while a U.S. Senator pontificates above you.

*I would have gone straight out after work without even going home, except I went to the gym this evening and needed a shower. I like to do my part for humanity by keeping body odor at bay.

Monday, July 7, 2008

You say it's THEIR birthday...

Do you like cake?

What kind of cake do you like?

Me, personally, I like a good ice cream cake every once in awhile, and I’ve never met a cupcake I didn’t like. (Except for the ones at CakeLove. Everyone seems to rave about them, but you know, I just don’t get the hype. I think they’re only meh. It’s not that I didn’t like the cupcake, more like it just wasn’t my favorite. And if I’m going to pay that much for a g-d cupcake it had better be my favorite.) And angel food cake. I do love angel food cake, with its sweet airiness and maybe some ripe just-sweet-enough strawberries on the side.

And don’t even get me started on cheesecake. I could eat half of a cow, 14 potatoes and 3 wedge salads and be bursting at the seams, but if you offered me a slice of good cheesecake I would push the contents of my stomach over to the side and wedge that slice in there.

Unfortunately for me, I have no such cake in front of me. But if I did have a dessert in front of me, I would actually have two. I would have a carrot cake in my right hand and a key lime pie in my left hand. The carrot cake would have “HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDI-O” inscribed in frosting, and the key lime pie would have “HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUTHERRR” etched into the meringue topping.

Because when it is your birthday, you should be able to eat whatever kind of cake (or rather, pie) you want.

Happy birthday, Mom and Dad!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Salty and Bitter Nowhere to be Found

DC is empty for the weekend (save for the tourists) as everyone has run away to the beach for the long 4th weekend. I, however, am still here, because I like being around in this empty city because there is less traffic and no lines when I go to get ice cream. (And 4th of July weekend is nothing if it is not about ice cream. Or barbecues. Or both.)

Today I met up with my friend Brady at TangySweet in Dupont Circle. It's frozen yogurt and you can throw on a variety of toppings like fresh fruit, chocolate chips, granola, or cereal. Like Cocoa Puffs.

Yeah, that's right.

Cocoa Puffs.

My all-time favorite sugar cereal.

Needless to say, TangySweet is now in the top three of my favorite places for ice cream/frozen yogurt. (#1 is the Plush Horse in Palos Heights, IL, and #2 is Dairy Queen. I love a good Peanut Buster Parfait. No judging.)

Friday, July 4, 2008

God Bless Amurica

In the spirit of America, let's take a vote today. What's YOUR favorite fourth of July food? Scroll down for the poll.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Heredity Strikes Again

Last night I had popcorn and wine for dinner.

Yes, that's right. Popcorn. Wine.

I AM turning into my mother.

Sometimes it's good to embrace your clearly hereditary genes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Adventure #4 – Food! Glorious Food! Or, Post Every day for a Month

So there’s this thing every November called National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo, for short. It’s expanded this year, to 365 blogging (with a free day for the leap year), and to make it a little easier for peeps, each month has a theme. Clearly, I haven’t been participating in the daily blogging experience, but I got a notice the other day that the theme for July would be (drum roll, please….): FOOD.

BA-BAAAAA! (Insert sound of horns and wild applause here.)

If you know me, you know that I love food. (And if you don’t know me and are just casually dropping by, then Hello, I’m Molly. I love food.) I lurrrrv it. I love to make it, I love to eat it, I love to give it to other people to eat, I love to talk about it and write about it and think about it and…and…I just love food. I even love shopping for it. Making a trip to the Social Safeway on a Saturday morning? Always one of the highlights of my weekend. (I’ll admit it. I’m a grocery store nerd. I think part of my love of grocery shopping stems from working on trade magazines related grocery stores and the food and beverage industry, and part of it stems from me just being a nerd in general.) I could go months without dusting my apartment, but if I go more than 5 or 6 days without stepping foot inside a grocery store, I get a little antsy. And by a little I mean a lot.

ANYHOO, since I found this theme intriguing, I thought I’d make it another adventure for my list of things I’m to do before I turn 30, and, well, also just to keep things interesting until the next big pre-30 project comes along. (I’m workin’ on it, I’m workin’ on it! Sheesh, give a girl a break, will ya?) So check back here every day for the month of July to see if I am up to the task of posting every day, and what’s more, posting every day about food. (Get excited!)

Today, my thoughts on food are twofold. First, I could really go for some Pequod’s deep dish with sausage, mushroom, fresh tomato slices and extra cheese, well done. But then, that’s one of my thoughts every day. Second, I am desperate to make this pie. Doesn't it sound divine? Yeah. I thought so too.