Monday, March 28, 2011

Foodie Weekend

So this weekend I enjoyed an assortment of excellent food... Friday night I headed to Pescado's China Street with 2 girlfriends for happy hour and dinner. We enjoyed pitchers of Sangria, colorful mojitos, and one big guava jalapeño margarita that was to-die for... It packed some heat too! The great thing about Pescado's is you can dine all night long on their small plates and taste a variety of options. We chose the escolar tostada, fried oysters, and ceviche that was out of this
world. The seafood paella entrée rocked too. The risotto griddle cake underneath the clams, shrimp, mussels, and chorizo made for a unique twist to the traditional meal. The best part was dessert... Avocado Tarte. Everyone who knows me fairly well knows that my favorite food is avocado. I eat probably a half avocado every single day. I use avocado for everything - it replaces my cream cheese when I have lox and bagels for breakfast, and trumps mayo any day on a deli sandwich. So when out came a beautiful graham cracker crust bowl of avocado creaminess topped with whipped cream and fresh mint, you can only imagine my anticipation. Words cannot describe the heavenly taste of this dessert. It was light yet full of flavor - a great way to end our wonderful meal!

On to another favorite restaurant of mine in RVA... Stronghill Dining Company. John and I were able to brunch on Sunday for the first time in a while. After a round of bloody mary's, we enjoyed egg's benedict, but topped with fried goat cheese and smoked salmon instead of the traditional Canadian bacon. It was excellent. I ordered an omelette with goat cheese, mushrooms and
crawfish. It was very fresh - not fishy at all! And of course a side waffle, because I always want a
taste of sweetness with my eggs...

S0... with all that said, hope you drooled a little while reading this post and of course, head down to Pescado's or Stronghill for a fabulous dining experience!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tradition St. Paddy's Celebration in Boston

It's that time of year again... Ever since my twin sister moved to Boston attend law school at the New England School of Law, I've visited and for lack of a better word, "celebrated" St. Patrick's Day with my sister and her crazy lawyer friends. This year was no different. As we hit the sky in our swanky Jet Blue ride, we started our trip with warm white wine on the plane, only to be followed by copious amounts of beer and shots. While this blog post has nothing to do with food or fitness, I feel the need to share one of my favorite events I've participated in for the past 4 years: the St. Paddy's Day parade in Southie, Boston. Now this is not just any parade. It takes skill and dedication to get through this one glorious day. Each year, my sister hosts anywhere from 4 to 8 people in her tiny Beacon Hill apartment- all women who require showers and hair dryers that blow fuses in the apartment on a regular basis. The effort to get 8 girls showered and ready for a full day of celebrations is nothing short of a special forces mission. First, we set our alarms for 6am, and the first poor soul gets up to begin the shower line-up. Usually the best sport in the house is my roommate Talley, who also forgoes hours of sleeping based on her spot in the room (we somehow shoved 2 inflatable mattresses into my sister's tiny room along with her full size bed to sleep 4 people). Because Talley's mattress is by the door, everyone who goes to the bathroom or enters/leaves the bedroom has to physically step on her inflatable mattress near her head. It's quite the scene, but all in the name of fun and tradition do we endure it.

Following the endless row of showers, we enter the hair dryer line-up, followed by flat irons and makeup... Then the fun part: the St. Paddy's Day gear! Every year we bring up beads, shamrock earrings, glittery stickers, green drinking straws and anything else we can find to dress up our outfits for the day. This year we kicked it up a notch with shamrock knee-high socks and jean skirts. Now that everyone's decked out in glowing green costumes, we move on to a simple yet nutritious breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, and of course, mimosas.

And we're off! It's almost 9am and we must get in line at the epic Beer Garden, a bar just off of L street on Broadway. Beer Garden is our annual tradition and now the center of our historical celebration. We are always the first in line so that we can snag the large bay window area in the front of the bar with tables. This allows us to drink, eat and be merry as we watch the parade go by. The staff is superior to any bar staff here in Richmond. They keep the green Bud Light aluminum cans flowing before you even set your empty one down. The Irish car bombs and intermittent shots throughout the day are expensive but worth it when you are buying for a crew of 15. When you come to Boston and role with us, you have to accept that you will burn a large whole in your wallet. Sometimes you don't remember doing it either. All in all, the day wraps up sometime around dinner where we almost always snag an unmarked van cab to take us back into town for a dinner we don't remember, and where we continue to party until we drop. I usually never make it past 11pm but at that point, I've been drinking since 8am and don't mind tapping out for the count. So in a nutshell, the 4th annual St. Paddy's Day celebration in Boston was a huge success. Some people lost their debit cards, iPhones, and dignity, but somehow we all survive.
Thank you to my wonderful sister for making this tradition one of the most memorable times of my life!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Want My Baby Back Ribs

I tried another new recipe today. This one turned out better than the lasagna I made a couple weeks ago (which turned into noodle, eggplant and mushroom marinara soup). Tonight we ate Baby Back Ribs! At Trader Joe's (I know, I'm obsessed), they sell racks of baby back ribs at a pretty decent price and quality. I got a large rack of ribs for $8 bucks. The plan was to have John put them in the oven, covered in foil with nothing but salt and pepper on them for 4 to 5 hours at 275 degrees. Since I forgot to ask him to do this until 2pm, they only cooked for 3.5 hours at 300, but they were still tender. Afterwards, I coated them in Famous Dave's Rich and Sassy BBQ Sauce, followed by Part Time Party Porker Sweet and Heat BBQ Sauce. I got it at a food and wine tasting over the holidays. It's amazing. It definitely packs some heat! The ribs go back in the oven for another half hour covered in foil to let the sauce sink in, and viola! Fall off the bone, finger lickin' baby back ribs. I paired them with grilled asparagus and rice and broccoli. It was so good! I will definitely make this recipe again. Thank you to my co-worker, Jessica for your recipe and help - they turned out great!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

South of the Border... er... West End Mexican

Just a quick shout-out blog to share my awesome experience today at Habanero Taqueria. I got the idea to try this place from a fellow food blogger and critic (RVAFoodie), who happened to share another foodie blogger's experience at this authentic taco joint as well.

I took my co-worker, Jessica, with me and headed to Quioccasin Road, just off of Parham Road in the West End (near Regency Mall). It's very close to my office so I was thrilled. We ordered the 3 tacos for 4.99 lunch special - 1 chicken, 1 steak and 1 "al pastor" (pork). The meats were cooked and seasoned perfectly. The homemade fresh salsa was heaven - diced onion, tomatoes and cilantro. What's not good with cilantro??? YUM.

Not a lot of room for seating, and I worry that if you get the tacos to-go, the corn tortillas will be mush before you make it back to work, but I'll give it try next time and let you know. Definitely a "regular" lunch spot for me in the future!