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Everything posted by JennyUptown

  1. Go Fish! is very cute and we really enjoyed the lunch we had there this past September. The meal's highlight? Deep fried...sausage. Can you guess who ordered that? Yes, me...the non-seafood eater.
  2. I had a few drinks thus there are no photos from last night. Sorry to disappoint! But the pizza, and the company (and yes, the drinks) were great. I began with a happy hour special ($4) martini at the bar. It was ok, sweet (which I knew going in), but good enough for a starter. They have other happy hour specials including three different draught beers available for $2.50. Afterward, we moved up to Matchbox's third level. It's an interesting space - very narrow and somewhat deep so they built UP. The first level is a high-ceilinged bar with a few tables for two as well as the aforementioned HOT-HOT oven and dumbwaiter. On the second level (probably my least favorite part), there are a few tables and half-booths. I find the top level to be coziest and that's where we sat, catching up about this and that. We began our meal with their delicious mini-burgers (3) and onion straws. I know some repeat customers have said they've fallen off a bit, but these seemed perfect to me. My friend Emily found them amusing in a charming way, these tiny burgers completely surrounded by fried onion straws seasoned with garlic. We didn't break any new ground with pizza: the prosciutto white (hold the olives) for both of us. There was a single man dining along next to us and we ended up chatting with him quite a bit about food, DC and the like. He turned out to be a 50 something pilot from France and he hadn't been to Washington in at least ten years he said. Nice that he found such a cozy spot just by luck! When Emily and I finished up (no room for dessert), I checked in with PLM who was still at work, but almost ready to go so I got him a Matchbox Meat pizza to go. He seemed to like it (more grunting). Coming to work was quite painful today. It's absolutely freezing (for DC anyway) so I broke down and brought out the big guns. I have this white down jacket. It's on the long-ish side (probably mid-thigh), quilted and has a rather large furry hood. I feel like Kenny from South Park every time I wear it. I overslept (8:10!!) which is rare and then I did a bad thing: I stole the two small remaining slices of the Matchbox Meat. Bad girlfriend, bad girlfriend. But oh, what a nice lunch I'll have today... * * * * * * Only a few more days left on my blog and I need to find the next victim, I mean blogger. If anyone wants to make this process easy on me, feel free to PM me about it.
  3. Let the countdown begin! Bring on the pizza...I'm famished because today's lunch soup was a small portion and I didn't finish the bread that came with it. In thirty minutes, I'll be sitting at the bar, sipping a Rogue Dead Guy Ale waiting for my friend to find a d&*n parking space. From there, we'll contemplate ordering a starter of Matchbox's mini-burgers (served 3-6 or-9 to an order) with crisp onion straws. Because there are only two of us, my guess is we'll skip 'em and focus on pizzas. My favorite is called the prosciutto white - you can guess the key ingredients. I ask them to skip the olives. Can you tell I'm pumped up for this?
  4. Like anyone else, I find that the more I know about a subject, the more likely I am to like it. I'm like my Dad in that when I pursue something, I tend to work and work until I perfect it. Upon retirement Dad thought "you know, when I was a boy I liked archery." Now he's a competitive archer who has been invited to the Senior Olympics. If there were a clickable smilie for "proud," I'd insert it right here. My desire to throw myself into things and learn it all really shows with my NBA experience. I went there knowing nothing of the game and came out with a passion for it. Back in high school, I, a dancer, asked one of her jock friends "so what's a rebound anyway?" It confounds a lot of HS friends that I not only do what I do, but that I enjoy it. The reason I bring this up is that I'm contemplating a cooking class (singular). I'm reluctant to committing myself to a series in case I hate it, but there seem to be some interesting one-offs put on by Roberto Donna/Galileo(fancy, Italian) and Lebanese Taverna (maybe simpler, Med). I did this research while wolfing down a late lunch of - what else - corn chowder. This time it's just from Cosi which is closer than High Noon. Between the cold outside and the fact that I've been in meetings all morning, I needed to go for speed. I like both chowders, but they are quite different. Cosi's is not as thick as High Noon's and it has chicken (High Noon's is vegetarian). I think Cosi's slightly spicier from the presence of many red (yum) and green (yuck) peppers. High Noon uses a few poblano peppers sliced tiny, and thickens the soup with feta cheese. It's richer and thicker, and it has chunkier potatoes too so I probably like it a little better than Cosi's. Chocolate chip banana bread for dessert. Love it! I took PLM a piece. He was busy but I managed to grunt in gratitude. Tonight I'm off to Matchbox with my friend Emily and I hope to take pictures so you can have a peek into one of my favorite places. I love it because I can have a personal pizza with high-quality toppings and a beer and still get out for about $15. Oh dear...I saw this on MSNBC.com: There’s one restaurant in Australia where you probably won’t see Bill Clinton eating. Four entrepreneurs are planning to open a place in Darwin next month called Lewinsky’s, a theme restaurant inspired by the former White House intern. “We’re going to go very funky and theme the restaurant around Monica,” one of the restaurateurs told Australia’s Northern Territory News. He says Lewinsky’s will sell cigars and hopes to also carry handbags designed by Monica, which are also sold on her Web site. “There are no other bars registered in her name and we think she will be quite flattered,” he says. Lewinsky’s rep didn’t sound flattered. “I negotiate all her deals, and this is the first I’ve heard of it,” Barbara Hudson told The Scoop. “I’m not sure they’re allowed to do this, legally.” We’ll keep you posted. Regarding my real estate situation, thanks for your suggestions. If it were closer to the metro I might check it out...hmm, a bar in the building. Cool! In the end though, I am hoping to stay put. If the price is right.
  5. Incredibly cold here in DC today (not as bad as NYC, I know, so I won't complain as much as I'd like to!). We didn't get any of the anticipated snow, at least here in DC proper, which to me was a bit of a disappointment. Like hillvalley, I enjoy a nice work delay or cancellation. It's cold enough that if Cosi sold soup this early, I'd be slurping some. Instead, I'll start the day with my usual half bagel with cheese and a gigante iced skim latte. Yes, iced. No matter what the temp is, I generally prefer my coffee cold. When I worked at the NBA, one of the retired player-execs used to see me come in each day, iced latte in-hand, and make fun of me. In his fantastic West Virginia accent, he'd say "Jennifer, it's COLD outside and you're gonna drink THAT??" or similar. Without fail, he'd see me and shake his head. I got a nice surprise this morning in the form of an e-mail from a friend who dropped the news that he's moving to my neck of the woods. This is only significant in a food capacity in that he is the person who introduced me to my beloved Indian food (Baluchi's UWS, NYC). Ever since that night of friends and food, when given a choice, Indian is almost always tops. Mmm...aloo tikki, lamb samosas (which Heritage India in Glover Park inexplicably removed from the menu!! ), lamb vindaloo, paneer anything and the old standby, chicken tikka masala/makhani (and yes, I know it's not all that authentic of a dish, but I love it anyway). I'll be dining at Indique Monday night when my friend Jen comes to town from NYC. She'll be meeting a few of my friends for the first time, and since she really likes Indian food too, it seemed like the perfect location. Time for the bagel...
  6. People other than my mother caring about what I eat is still new to me. Oops! I had steamed chicken buns (not as good as others I've had) and fried pork dumplings (really doughy and they gave me such heartburn). Do you know what's funny? Only one person out of a group of seven had seafood! For dinner, the pasta warmed up tasted better than it did first time around - nice surprise. I'm kind of in the mood for going out for a beer. If there were a nice bar nearby - say, in the lobby of my apartment building (now THAT's an idea), I'd travel that far. But it's way too cold to go out tonight. Instead I'm contemplating making chocolate-chip banana bread tonight. I have the right number of ripe bananas. I'd rather make a pudding, however I'm short on ingredients (doh!) again.
  7. It is indeed pasta & peas (sans tomato sauce). I think I messed up the resolution when I resized it. PS It's a representation of pasta & peas, but the dish shown was not made by me.
  8. Check it out...I have a new avatar thanks to gus_tatory. Can you tell what it is? So exciting...
  9. Just about 6:20 pm ET and here I am, writing in the blog instead of going to Ceiba for Restaurant Week. Waaaaah, I'm boooorrreeed. I feel like a kid again. One friend bailed because of her sudden hatred of her job and a need to get her resume in order NOW. Another was worried about her bottom line and when I agreed that poverty is bad, we decided to pull the plug (and yes, cancel the reservation). DC is freezing at the moment; it's windy and we're due for the snow to begin around 9 pm so although I'd love to go out for a beer (and avoid my You Won't Be Considered a Good Chef For Long Pasta alla Vodka leftovers), I'll probably stay put for tonight. At most, I'll hit the gym. I just got another amusing e-mail from a dear (but not near - he's in Ireland now) ex. He is largely unimpressed with aspects of my life, thinking I stress too much and focus on work/earnings/stability more than any normal person should. I've known him for a few years now - we met at a bar in NYC called Solas in 1998 or so. I bring him up because I just realized that in all of these years of knowing him, I don't think we ever had a proper restaurant meal together. Owen, if you are reading, can you confirm/deny? So strange. I think there may have been bar food consumed at Matt's...or a pizza at Swift...but never a real deal with menus, nice napkins, a waitress (preferably one you didn't hit on in front of me), etc. Procrastinating...don't...want...leftover...pasta!
  10. I saw a post on the New York board that took me back. Someone was asking about a good first-date restaurant for "a friend." Made me think about some of my more memorable restaurant dates (as opposed to the "let's cut to the make-out part" dates). Back in New York...I was probably somewhere between 22 and 24. Somehow, I met this guy whose name escapes me, but whose Bensonhurst (Brooklyn) accent shall never be forgotten. I overlooked his accent and the fact that he advertised himself as "Eye-talian" because he was really cute albeit in a cheesy way. Remember Madonna's Papa Don't Preach video? This guy (was it Nick? this is going to drive me crazy) looked like the studly Madonna-baby-daddy in the video. He had a taste for wearing this awful silver chain and putting too much whatever in his brown hair. But I figured we could work on that later if need be. For whatever reason, this guy REALLY liked me right off the bat. I knew this for sure when he came to pick me up and announced that we were going to have dinner at Provence, a romantic and somewhat expensive spot on Macdougal in the West Village. Note: I have no idea what Provence's reputation is these days. This all took place at least six years ago. In lawyer-speak, nothing in this posting shall be construed as an endorsement of Provence by the Author. I've never been any good with guys who come on strong; I pretty much always lose interest and gain squirminess. My interest in this guy immediately began to decline in spite of his nice effort. I remember that I liked the food, but I was more focused on escaping than anything else. "Dessert? No, I would not like dessert. Check, please." So mean of me, I know. Chalk it up to immaturity. The bottom line: I will never forget Provence. I also never returned (and probably never will!). Did you ever have a date spoil for you what might have been an enjoyable meal/restaurant?
  11. Just back from yet another one of those coworker's birthday lunches. I really enjoy working with the colleague in question, however I was not looking forward to the lunch. He chose Tony Cheng's Seafood House and although I wasn't thrilled about the selection, it was more about other not-great reviews of the place, not my seafood situation. I can always find something to eat. I was also thinking about 1. my budget and 2. my dinner reservations for tonight at Ceiba for DC's Restaurant Week. These lunches, while always a good laugh because the people I work with are a pretty fun bunch, can stretch on for two hours. I have blogging to do, people! Check, please... I have a tummyache. Anyway, back to my random musings about kitchens. Good Lord, the kitchens of NYC... My first apartment, on Park Avenue South near 20th Street in Gramercy Park, was under 300 sq feet. Really. The kitchen was in a little alcove and its appliances were just tiny things. Until recently I had assumed that they were manufactured for the sole purpose of furnishing apartments in the five boroughs. Touring apartments here in DC, seeking to find a better rent deal, shot down that belief. Back to the appliances...this kitchen didn't come with any of the "extras" I've since become accustomed to having. No mounted microwave, no dishwasher and a very old fashioned refrigerator, the kind with a tiny icebox (literally encrusted with years of ice) within. The stove/oven was approximately 24 inches wide and it was a gas stove, something new to me. My mother, a big fan of her electric range, worried nightly about fires, as well as my premature death from a gas leak and how I would ever light the pilot light should it go out. Her worries were unnecessary are I rarely cooked during that first year in New York. The rent was $950/month plus utilities. Even with frequent, uh, subsidies from home, how could I afford food on my tiny magazine salary? After a year, I moved to a slightly larger (and yes, more expensive) apartment, but the kitchen situation didn't improve. Why? I simply moved up four floors within the building. Same building, same sort of kitchen. Very little cooking. In an attempt to save money, I moved into a really nice roommate situation on the Upper East Side. The building was gorgeous with two doormen working 24/7. The kitchen was so much more pleasant than the ones I had endured for just over two years. It had a dishwasher - so exciting! Additionally there was a nice pass-through set-up. It was a cute apartment. Pasta and peas was noticed as a trend here. "Pasta and peas? AGAIN??" I can hear Beth saying. Beth is now married, living a happy, busy life in California, yet when we talk she sometimes feels compelled to harrangue me about my habit. Living with roommates, though, wasn't always a picnic as it reintroduced the food sharing/stealing problem from college. Grr... One of my two roommates was considerate and kind; I liked sharing with her. The other, who replaced Beth when she moved on, was a pot-smoking, e-taking, competitive marathoner (yes, you read that right). Between her food thefts, love of canned tuna (blech!!) and a frequent desire to cook smelly fish, we weren't close. She moved out after a year or so and our new third roommate was bad in her own way. In the end, when we all decided to move, she took off with my blender, the best of my limited small kitchen appliance collection. My final apartment in NYC was a find. Located in Greenwich Village on what is sometimes called Downtown's restaurant row (Cornelia Street), it was a newly renovated 2 BR place in an old tenement building which I shared with a friend's brother. Everything was brand new, but nothing could hide the smallness of the place. The kitchen and living room were one, and contained in about 200-250 sq feet making cooking while watching tv an easy feat. This roommate really fancied himself to be quite the chef (as he used spaghetti sauce from a jar) and liked to lecture me about...my reliance on pasta and peas. I, in turn, frequently pleaded with him to stop stirring his cooking food with a fork (worse than nails on a chalk board) and doing bad things in the kitchen sink while drunk. Don't ask. Moving to DC was a revelation. When landlords and other real estate types asked for my list of musts, I couldn't think of any because I had lived without [everything] for so long. No dishwasher? OK. No air conditioning? OK. It took me awhile to make demands but I am learning.
  12. Just got back from Tony Cheng's. Like most of the review said, it was neither awful nor great. I am not planning a return visit. The menu is standard Chinese fare. In addition, they offered both a list of daily specials and a separate dim sum menu. Specials were in the $11-14 range; regular entrees (non-seafood) seemed to top-out around $10. One of my coworkers and I did dim sum. We weren't crazy about their huge, doughy fried pork dumplings. I had ordered two of those (3 dumplings each), thinking that plus a steamed chicken bun or two would be my meal, but the monstrosities arrived. One order of dumplings would have been more than enough for me. My coworkers sampled dishes that were pretty standard - chicken lo mein, moo shoo something, etc. I don't know why, but I couldn't wait to get out of there. Maybe it was the lingering Christmas decorations or the murky white water in the lobster tank right in front of our table.
  13. eGulleteers are a great bunch. Thanks for all of the encouraging words. I have talked a bit about factors which I have blamed for inhibiting my desire to cook more often. In the past, I have frequently blamed my kitchen situations, but presently that excuse won't fly. I live in a rented DC apartment with one of the nicer kitchens I've had since leaving the comfort of Mom & Dad's house. Everything is new-ish. Not super-high-tech, but good enough for most people who cook for fun (and certainly more than good enough for this amateur). Lots of counter space, all of the necessary objects and it's separate from the rest of the apartment without being isolated. To others, my kitchen might be nothing special, but to me, my entire apartment is as good as Christmas morning. I have a dining area too, but to be honest, the table there is used as a writing desk much more often than it is for dining. The living room coffee table sees much more food. Looking back, I can think of quite a few "key moments in kitchens" so I'm going to break this up into two or three parts. Although, if you find it boring (let me know), maybe I'll stop after Part 1. In college, there was the college meal plan I already described followed by one year living in a sorority house. The forty or so of us residing there had a cook responsible for cold lunches and hot dinners. Breafast was DIY during the week. I hated all of it. Complicating matters, my best friend had a rather severe problem with anorexia. Between my distaste for the greasy, nasty food served buffet style in the dining room and her desire to avoid having people watch her eat (or not), we were a weird pair, and during the year, we ended up sampling most of downtown Ithaca's establishments, sometime several times each week. Her father, knowing there was a problem and thinking he should try to help, footed the bill for both of us. I'd eat things I liked - grilled chicken, rice, turkey sandwiches, basic, familiar foods - while she ordered a salad to start followed by a side of whatever steamed vegetables they could dig up. It was a strange year. [Note: my friend struggled for many years, but is doing great now.] On a decidedly lighter note...I lived in a six bedroom, 1.5 rabbit hutch of an apartment my junior year. Yes, you read that correctly. I cannot imagine how that ever seemed like a good idea. We were part United Nations, part Jerry Springer show. There were two roommates who tried to incorporate select principles of kosher eating, one roommate who was from Korea but could never remember to check the darn rice rooker before it was too late (our apartment always smelled like burned rice), another girl who spent much more money feeding her horse than herself, the anorexic and me. The most significant development of that year? Pasta and peas was conceived here. My senior year of college was a step in the right direction. I lived with four wonderful women, all of whom I'm still friends with, in a house owned by one of the women's parents. He had a grown-up's kitchen in a house formerly owned by a rabbi and his family and it was such an improvement upon my past college dwellings' kitchens. My roommates and I ate together pretty regularly. Two of the five were great cooks - the remaining three, of which I was one, offered to clean up. Together we celebrated birthdays and other special occasions with elaborate meals. One of the two cooks was in Cornell's hotel school; the other was a creative vegetarian. Both cooked dishes to be appreciated. When they weren't cooking for me, I worked "hard" to perfect pasta and peas. One of the other non-chefs loved it, but I refused to share with the gourmands (not that they wanted any). It was a good time. And then I moved to New York City. (Part 2 - to come...)
  14. Bacon that lowers your cholesterol, perhaps?
  15. Familiarity breeds contempt. Already! I never should have agreed to do this damn blog.
  16. The proscuitto is indeed salty - even though I didn't use much, I'm sure it made a difference. Plus, I checked the can and the sauce also had "salt" and "spices," albeit low on the list of five or six ingredients. I *thought* I had planned for the salt issue by not adding salt when I was told to. No such luck.
  17. Michelle just reminded me... even though my father is Polish and his mother (who died when I was a baby) was actually from Poland, I never had babka until we went to Newark for my uncle's funeral. I was a senior in high school racked with guilt over being so excited about this marvelous new food in the midst of my father's grieving. Even now, I hear "babka" and I feel this quick flip-flop of emotions. Other Polish foods are popular on both sides of my family - I think it's more about where I'm from that the ethnic background of my own family. Kielbasa, as long as it's not too fatty. My Russian aunt's pierogis (which I wouldn't eat until I was an adult even though I liked all of the components). What about people like me who have never eaten it - ever? To be truthful, I really think I'd rather start off by trying sushi or sashimi rather than some baked or broiled whatever.
  18. If this is a repeat of a topic, feel free to smack me around, but I was just thinking, "I wish red wine didn't stain my teeth each time I indulge." I have also wished for poppyseeds that don't stick in the spaces between teeth (hmm, notice a trend here?) and a bottomless container of tang. For those of you following the blog, I had to put that in there. Others: Bread that always stays fresh Onions that don't give me heartburn What are yours?
  19. Replaced crushed tomatoes (32oz) with 15 or 16oz of tomato sauce. I thought I had it [reasonably] covered.
  20. I wholeheartedly agree, Michelle. There's another one I remember loving too...it had caramel and chocolate and...hold on, let me fantasize.
  21. Maggie, you are hilarious. NOT GONNA HAPPEN, however I think you should draft that note to Ms. Ray now...just for entertainment purposes. Thanks for the compliments! I'm having a lot of fun with this.
  22. Another food memory... As a freshman at Cornell, I started off on the 7-3 meal plan (three meals a day, seven days per week). I rarely made it to breakfast, preferring to grab a Pop Tart in my dorm room or in a crowded lecture where no one cared if I ate, so long as I didn't try to copy their class notes. For lunch, I tended to eat at one of the central campus dining halls near my classes such as the Ivy Room (where I'd usually dine solo, semi-wallowing in my melancholic state) or Trillium (the very social dining hall, a very intimidating place even with a plan to meet friends). From what I hear, Cornell's dining program is highly rated, but I wasn't all that excited about it at the time. Much like now, I craved diversity; choosing between dining halls didn't qualify. Instead, I wanted restaurant food, or food from home, or even to cook (the dorms had small non-kitchens and were generally crowded with forgotten ramen and other crusty leftovers - I can still smell it). I lived on grilled cheese sandwiches or chicken fingers (lunch) and mushy pasta (dinner) followed by blueberry pie. Lots of blueberry pie. At night, I'd often eat again ("Hello Freshman Fifteen...do I hear Twenty?"). Usually we'd get Hot Truck but there were plenty of nights when we ordered Pizza Hut. I'd be willing to bet that I ate vegetables less than ten times the entire year. After seventeen years of meat+starch+veg meals with Mom and Dad, I created my own food plan. Truthfully, even now I don't eat well. I've added a few vegetables to my diet - asparagus is the favorite - but there is plenty of room for improvement. The age part is absolutely true. There are many more 18 year olds in the pros now (esp. the NBA) and both the League and individual teams have made efforts to address the issue of preparing these young guys to live independently. The programs have life skills components (e.g., teaching the kids about how dry cleaning works, opening a checking account, etc.), but more often than not, most emphasis is placed on avoiding money-grubbing hangers-on, hoochie-mamas and drugs. Actually, this is a good spot to share what I think is a piece of excellent journalism. For those of you with any interest in this sports/food topic, check it out. "Growing Pains" by Sally Jenkins
  23. I let the sauce simmer longer than I thought I would have to, hoping for some reduction and thickening. But then the pasta was ready so I said "whatever!! I'm eating." Fresh tomatoes? What are those? Have you learned nothing about me and my inability to keep ingredients, especially fresh ones, on-hand?
  24. Tang. Oh, that's not a food? OK. Bacon, sausage, other salty meats. Blue cheese of all varieties.
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