Long Overdue Update! We’re Moving!

I’m still here! I’m alive!

We’ve had a lot happen in a short amount of time so our lives have been a little crazy. Well, The first couple weeks of silence were lack of inspiration (with life in general) and the back half of the silence has been because WE’RE MOVING! Not far, just from Old Town over to Del Ray. But it was not expected or planned, so the past month has been pretty insane. Our landlord informed us that she needed to move back into her condo and that we would need to find another place. She gave us just under 60 days. We hopped right to it and actually found the place we’re moving to, about 3 days later. We had that lease signed in less than 2 weeks. It’s pretty amazing what the anxiety of possibly not having a home will do for your productivity! And actually really heartening how supportive our friends have been. Thanks to everyone who has checked in on us and who have offered to help us move next weekend. Our lives look like this now.

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We looked all over Old Town (our second choice was on Prince St. right smack dab in the middle of Old Town. The deal-breaker there was street parking) and Del Ray. We looked at a complex off of Columbia Pike (Penrose) in Arlington where some of our close friends live. We looked at 4 other units in our current community. We flirted with the idea of sharing an amazing house in Bloomingdale with another couple (Neither of us ever got a response to our response to the Craigslist ad). We thought about moving into the District, but didn’t see anything that was workable with two cats in our price range. Also, because the move was so unexpected, we sort of wanted to minimize our life upheaval.

We found a HUGE two bedroom condo in another garden-style development in Del Ray that was juuuust over our max budget. We decided that increasing our living space by ONE THIRD would be worth it though. Especially now that we have 2 kitties. We’re also giving up having an in-unit washer and dryer and dishwasher, but a two bedroom walking distance from delicious margaritas at Los Tios? SOLD! We can buy a portable dishwasher if that’s too terrible. And well, we’ll deal with the laundry. I can blog from the laundry room! I’m sure it will be a challenge, but we both saw ourselves living in that apartment. The lady was ready to move in as soon as she walked into it. I’m excited to have a guest room and space to entertain. Maybe dinner parties will become a new blog feature?

We’ve frequented Del Ray the whole time we’ve lived in Old Town, but I’m excited to live there and be part of that community. I even already found a community garden that I’m interested in joining next spring. I like the smaller-town feel of Del Ray. It’s less touristy and more neighborhoody than Old Town. Check out this timely article WaPo published today about the neighborhood!

The increase in rent and moving expenses are sucking up quite a bit of our fun money. It’s ok though! My mom put it best when she said that if going out was more rare, it would be more enjoyable when it does happen. And she was so right. Going out had started to feel like a chore (I know, crazy right?) just so I had content for the blog. It’s been nice to slow down and enjoy ourselves.

So, that’s been life in my corner for the past couple of months. I hope to be posting more regularly again after we get through schlepping our stuff two miles north and slightly west. Catch you all soon!

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Columbia Firehouse (Old Town)

When my college BFF, J, told me she was coming to town, I knew I wanted to take her to brunch. My first choice was honestly Evening Star Cafe, but I couldn’t get a reservation for the 3 of us. We could have gone without reservations, but I don’t like taking chances when I don’t have to. So, I explored other NRG options in Old Town. My next thought was Rustico, but one look over their menu revealed that they did not have the Eggs Benedict that J had already told me she wanted. My next thought was Columbia Firehouse. They had 3 different options for Eggs Benny, so I made the reservation.

We got up on Saturday and walked into Old Town from my apartment so I could show J this adorable tiny city that I live in. Like I wrote about in Monday’s post, we hit the Old Town farmer’s market and Waterfront Market to kill time before our reservations.

We walked into a mostly empty restaurant a few minutes to 11, but I’d much always rather be safe than sorry with reservations. Especially when hosting an out-of-town guest. You can’t look like you didn’t plan well!

They seated us in the dining room to the left of the barroom. This was the first time I had been there during the day, so this was the first time I noticed that this dining room was mostly windows on the ceiling! It was nice and bright. I’m glad I wasn’t hungover or anything, I may have needed sunglasses during my meal!

For drinks, J and I started with a bloody marys and, the lady had a mimosa. Both were equally delightful.

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We had worked up quite the appetite after all the walking, so we started with the Rosemary Garlic Fries with 3 dipping sauces: Smoked garlic mayo, buttermilk goat cheese, and ketchup.

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Holy cats were these some delicious damn french fries. We shoveled them in. I think everyone decided that the buttermilk goat cheese dip was the best. Yum.

For entrees, J decided on the Southern Eggs Benny. Fried green tomatoes, poached eggs, hollandaise, on a muffin. It said it came with jalapeños, but J requested it without. It was also served with fried potatoes. She said it was really tasty. I will need to go back and try it for myself. I love some fried green tomatoes!

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The lady had the Croque Monsieur.

 

She said it was pretty good, but about 4x the size it needed to be and was a wee bit dry. After eating the fries, she was only able to eat about half of it.

After much deliberation, I decided on the chicken and waffles.

 

It wasn’t much to look at, but it sure was delicious. It did come with a bird jus drizzled over the waffle, and that made it a little soggy. I don’t think it was totally necessary with the side honey served as a drizzle for the chicken, and butter and syrup for the waffle. All’s well that ends well, it was still delicious. I liked the honey for the chicken.

J and I also decided to go for a second round of drinks. I was sold on the Pineapple Mint Mojito, which had sparkling wine instead of club soda and chunks of pineapple.

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I was expecting it to be more pineappley than it was, but it’s just a good excuse for me to replicate it at home, but maybe with spiced rum and a splash of actual pineapple juice. Sort of a Mai Tai/Mojito hybrid.

J went with the Cucumber Fix Martini. Gin, Cucumber, Jalapeño, St. Germain. It was good, you could definitely taste the cucumber, with a little kick from the jalapeño, and lots of gin taste. It was definitely a slow-sipping drink, and despite being a martini lady, I don’t think she finished it.

 

Overall, I was really happy with my decision for introducing J to all that is Neighborhood Restaurant Group and having a really great brunch. We left feeling satisfied and a little bit tipsy. Now I just have to convince her to come back before the moves to Finland so I can show her a few more of my faves!

  • Favorite thing I had: The fries were really, really damn good for french fries. The buttermilk goat cheese dipping sauce was yummy. The chicken and waffle was also really good, minus the bird jus that soggified the waffle a bit.
  • Favorite thing she had:  She liked her mimosa and the fries as well.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The mussels, the oyster po’boy, the whole dinner cocktail menu
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): We’ll probably try to get down there for drinks sometime soon. We’ve been there for drinks, for dinner, and brunch over the period of about 3 years. Time to start the rotation again!
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Old Town is your oyster here. You can go shopping or go down to the water and hang out. We did the Farmer’s Market and Waterfront Market before brunch.

BFF in Town Weekend Round Up

Every weekend this summer has been jammed-packed full of friends and good food and drink. This weekend was no different. One of my best friends from college, J, was visiting this weekend. It was so nice to get to spend some time catching up and showing her around our neighborhood a little bit.

Friday afternoon, co-worker C and I took a short break from work to enjoy Cafe La Ruche one last time before it closes.  I had packed my lunch, but I still had room for an appetizer. We sat out on the patio and split an order of escargot. It was pretty sad to know that they’re closing after so long, but I’m curious to see what Chez Billy Sud will bring.

Since J was coming to town later in the evening, that lady and I picked up some Momo Sushi for dinner and spent the evening cleaning the house. I scooped J up from the airport and our weekend adventures began.

We got up early on Saturday and walked the mile and a half to the Old Town Farmer’s market to pick up ingredients for dinner. It was actually only the second time I had been to the farmer’s market. We got all kinds of fresh produce and I was able to pick up some beautiful flowers for the lady. It’s definitely going to be a more regular stop for me. We finished up our shopping but still had some time to kill before brunch plans, so we wandered down to the Waterfront Market. We ordered coffee and chatted for a bit. I’m looking forward to stopping there for breakfast after weekend morning bike rides.

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I decided that I wanted to take J to a Neighborhood Restaurant Group restaurant. She said she like eggs benedict, so I made reservations at Columbia Firehouse since they had a few different options. That was the perfect choice. It was delicious. That post will be up later this week. As a bonus, we even ran into another friend who lives in the neighborhood who we keep meaning to get together with. I gotta get on that!

After brunch, the lady and I had plans to head out to Ashburn for her high school best friend’s daughter’s 4th birthday party. It was a pool party, so we spent a couple of hours splashing around with preschoolers and eating ice cream cake. It’s nice to occasionally trek out to the suburbs and borrow some kids for a while. It’s like “Well, this could be our life… good to know! Let’s head back to Alexandria and party with our friends.”

We came back and J fixed us an amazing dinner. Afterward, we weighed the options of getting all dressed up and heading into the city for fancy cocktails or sticking close to home and making our own. We decided on the lower key night, made some drinks, laid out a blanket in the courtyard, and enjoyed the evening with neighbors.

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J had family plans in the city Sunday morning, so we got up, said our goodbyes, got her on her way. The lady and I decided to make it an NRG weekend have brunch just a few blocks from home at Rustico. We’ve been there dozens of times, but this was the best meal we’ve ever had there. I will definitely be writing about that this week.

After brunch, we ran the last of our errands, and spent the rest of the afternoon just sitting still, for the first time in a very long time. It has been an amazing summer so far, but wow. I need a nap! Looking forward to a short work week this week!

 

 

Society Fair Date Night Bag (Old Town)

As much as I love to cook, I also love eating food that I didn’t have to cook, in the comfort of my own home. I love the food at Society Fair, but a Date Night Bag gives you a chance to try a wider range of food than they serve in the wine bar or the cafe but the same quality. Of course you can order carry out, but for some reason this is different. It seems higher quality. So for a Date Night Bag, you place your order and pay online basically any time before Friday, pick up the bag up sometime Friday, and take it home and enjoy.

This bag included Curry chicken, basmati rice, Indian Chickpea salad, naan, different chutneys/spreads, coconut chai rice pudding, and a bottle of riesling.

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All we had to do was heat up the chicken, rice, and naan, plate it up, pour the wine, and enjoy. It took all of  5 minutes to get from the front door to sitting down eating a fantastic meal. Well, maybe a little longer, I had to take pictures!

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The naan was some of the fluffiest and softest I’ve ever had and the wine pairing was perfect for the flavor profile of the meal. The curry was just spicy enough. The chickpea salad was great and I’d love to make it myself. I’m thinking it would be a good dish to take a to cookout. The rice pudding was good too, but the chai spices were just a touch strong. There was an anise flavor that was a bit much. But don’t get me wrong, we still ate every bite of it. The whole meal was plenty for both of us and we had one serving of everything but the naan left over.

 

  • How often I order a bag: Every couple of months. It’s perfect when we need a quiet night in but still want really tasty restaurant-quality food.
  • My favorite thing about it: The fact that I just have to pick it up, wine and all. At $49, it’s cheaper than going to any restaurant and ordering two entrees, dessert, and a bottle of wine.
  • Bags I want to try: Like ScratchDC, I like trying things I wouldn’t cook for myself. A little bit more adventurous meals.
  • Why you should try it: Because it’s delicious. And all you have to do is go pick it up. They even do the wine pairing for you. You can also pass it off like you cooked a fancy meal, if you need/want to.

 

 

Virtue Feed and Grain (Old Town)

Virtue Feed and Grain is a place that we discovered last year during Alexandria Restaurant Week. I don’t remember exactly what we ordered (I think maybe I had the skirt steak) but I remember it being pretty solid. The place is a touch pricey, so it took us a while to make it back. I sort of forgot that it was tucked in by the water just off of King St. until P ventured out of the District to there and reminded me about it. I got explicit instruction from him to try the wings, so it went back to the top of the mental list. We stopped by just a couple of weeks ago before our dinner to have a beer. I thought about getting the wings then, but didn’t want to fill up on beer and wings before dinner. But it just so happened that we needed an Alexandria dinner spot the very next weekend. So, a reservation was made and excitement ensued. We toughed out a spring storm and some pretty serious puddles (you know, casual flooding) this night, but we made it into the cozy wood and brick building. We were seated upstairs at a table beside the couches in the center of the room. Our table was a 4-top and had really long, padded, backed benches as seats. It would have been a little awkward for 4 people, but it was a nice set up for the 2 of us. It was super comfy and the lady and I have decided that will be our dining set up when we have a formal dining room. We started the drinks: I had the Wales Banger? I don’t remember the exact name. It was Port City Optimal Wit, some type of liquor, and OJ. IT was nice and light and fresh. She had a Manhattan.   We of course had to start with the wings, as recommended by P. They were giant and juicy and a little sweet and really, really good. We made messes of ourselves and our fantastic waiter brought us wet naps. IMG_0072 For our main entrees, I finally settled on the Salmon with quinoa risotto and micro greens and she went for the Bison Burger with goat cheese. We each had about 3 different things we wanted, but that’s where we landed. IMG_0073 IMG_0077

(Don’t mind me downing that last wing in the background.)

The salmon was pretty good. After eating those really flavorful wings though, the sauce to the side of the salmon lacked a little depth. I added some salt and it helped. My favorite thing in this course was that risotto. It’s something I’ve been meaning to make on my own for a while, and this was perfect. Nice and cheesy and really tasty. I could eat a whole bowl of it. Her burger was also really good. The meat was nice and juicy. The goat cheese was a touch overpowering, but who can complain about cheese?

We were pretty full after our entrees, but the dessert menu appeared and EVERYTHING on it looked way too good to leave without trying any of it. We settled sharing a piece of the Peanut butter and chocolate ice box pie served with macadamia nut gelato. Oh my god. That’s all I have to say. I’d go back for that tonight, if I could. Maybe I will!

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  • Favorite thing I had: The Korean BBQ wings, the quinoa risotto, the peanut butter pie.
  • Favorite thing she had: The wings and the caramelized onions on the bison burger.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The chicken dinner sounded really good. Herbed chicken, polenta, and asparagus.
  • What makes this place stand out: The building is so awesome. It’s rustic, lots of reclaimed wood. I love that the windows open up like doors by some of the tables. The benches at our table were really comfortable. The couches by the bar looked like a great place to hang out.
  • How was the service?: I don’t think it could have been any more perfect. His timing was impeccable. Friendly, but also laid back. It was over 20% tip, good.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Next month. I’d love if this place became a regular destination. And I was actually pleasantly surprised that we got drinks, an appetizer, 2 entrees, and a dessert and got out of there right at $100 tip included.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Anything in Old Town. It was a little rainy, so we just went home.

Overwood (Old Town)

We knew about Overwood for a long time before we ever made it through the doors. We rediscovered it during our post dinner walk the night we finally tried Momo. Even though we were stuffed full of delightful sushi that night, Overwood’s menu still looked tasty to us. So, the next time we needed to do dinner close to home, they were at the top of the list.

Our first impression was that the space was cozy. I sort of expected the place to smell like wood fire, since they boast their wood-fired grill/oven.  But alas, no fire. We were seated quickly. We both decided on beers as none of the cocktails on the menu jumped out at us. Well, that’s not entirely true. The Lillini (Vodka, Cointreau, Grapefruit juice) looked pretty tasty to me. I just had already had a beer at happy hour and at our pre-dinner stop at Virtue Feed and Grain, so I figured it smart to stick with it.

We decided to start with the Fried Green Tomatoes, topped with a tempura-battered shrimp. Some of the tomatoes were slightly too green, but the balsamic reduction sauce on the plate MADE the appetizer. I was eating it off the plate with a fork even after the tomatoes were gone. Also, check out that plating.

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For our main course, I was having a hard time deciding between the salmon or something else, and then I noticed the mahi with pineapple salsa, rice, and asparagus on the Daily Specials and had to follow the pineapple. The lady wavered between the meatloaf and the short ribs, but ultimately decided on the short ribs with mashed potatoes and asparagus.

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Hers was very tasty. The mashed potatoes were flavorful, the meat was tender, and the fried onions were a nice touch. Mine, was well, it wasn’t the best and it wasn’t the worst. I think I may have erred in ordering fish at a place where you should clearly order a steak. I don’t prepare fish at home often because the lady isn’t a fan, but I like to order it when I go out. It just didn’t have much flavor here. It was cooked well. The  grilled asparagus was really good. But the rice and the fish were both a little lacking and the pineapple salsa just didn’t have the zing it needed. I did notice that every single table around us had at least one order of scallops and I just wonder if they got a memo that I didn’t. It wasn’t a total loss though, the lady was willing to share a few bites of hers with me. And I get a sneaking suspicion that this place knows its way around a steak. That’s what I’ll be ordering next time.

  • Favorite thing I had: Her mashed potatoes. The balsamic reduction with the fried green tomatoes.
  • Favorite thing she had: The mashed potatoes
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: Something off the cocktail menu. A steak!
  • What makes this place stand out: They had a solid beer and wine list.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Probably sometime later this year.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): We hopped over to Pops and braved the tourist families for some interesting ice cream flavors. You could also hit up Virtue Feed and Grain for a post dinner drink. That had been our plan, but due to chronic early-ness we made it there before dinner.

 

Momo Sushi (Old Town)

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I’ve been hearing for a long time that Momo’s is the best sushi in Old Town. I’m not sure why it took us 4 years to try it out, but we definitely started making up for lost time this weekend. After that late night out at Mission and MadHatters, we were looking for something close to home and easy, but also new to us. After tossing around options all day and soliciting suggestions on Facebook and Twitter, we took no one’s advice (thanks anyways guys, you had great suggestions), picked the one sushi place we had heard the most about, and went for it.

I scooped the lady up from the Metro after work and we headed into Old Town. I usually try to avoid Old Town on weekends because of parking, but we were able to score a spot less than a block away. We walked into the tiny little shack of a place and were seated at a wee table right by the entrance. As soon as we sat down, we were treated to a show of beautiful plates of sushi all around us. I knew we made the right choice. I went with the Spicy Roll Combo (a salmon roll, a tuna roll, and a California roll) and the lady went with the veggie roll combo (an avocado roll, an asparagus roll, and a cucumber roll). Both combos came with salad and some really, really great miso soup that I’m pretty sure cured my hangover. Everything was absolutely delicious. Three rolls per person, plus soup and salad was almost too much, but we handled it. We noticed that several people came in for carryout and decided that it would be fun to order and then go have a picnic in Founder’s Park, just a couple blocks away.

Then, the very next day, after a long, but productive day of doing all things adult- including a trip to Ikea, we were once again tired and looking for something easy and quick. Sushi was the only thing that sounded appetizing. And since we had some Ikea  furniture to build, carryout just seemed like the best way to go this time. I ordered the Old Town Roll, Spicy Crunchy Tuna, and a Japanese bagel roll. She had the Veggie roll combo again, but this time with the Inari in place of the asparagus roll. Once again, everything was wonderful. Ordering 3 special rolls was a little bit ambitious for me this time, and I ended up with about 6 pieces left over. Sushi for breakfast? Best Sushi in Old Town? So far!

  • Favorite thing I had: The Old Town roll. Cooked salmon, cucumber, avocado, old bay seasoning on top.
  • Favorite thing she had: Avocado Roll and miso soup
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The Hawaiian Sunset Roll. Salmon, avocado, cucumber, crab, pineapple on top. Also, I’m pretty sure I need to rename this blog “Finding Pineapple on Any Menu.” I don’t know I realized my love for the fruit until I started writing this blog
  • What makes this place stand out: It’s so very tiny. It’s close to the water.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Considering we went two nights in a row, I think I can see this place being a once per week or two standard. I concur, it is the best sushi on Old Town.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): We walked right over to King St. and the waterfront and just enjoyed being able to tolerate being outside.