Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ode de Rose's


Every now and then a restaurant comes along and just steals your heart away with everything it has to offer, from decor to dishware to garnish. Rose’s Luxury in Capitol Hill does just that and then some to make sure you remember each moment of it. It undeniably never fails. I may have written very briefly about it in a previous post, but after my most recent experience, I just had to share what this place is made of, especially if you have not experienced it yet. Rose’s is magic waiting to happen.




Now, restaurants always have their ups and downs with guests’ experiences, and I am sure they have had their challenges to make sure a guest leaves more than satisfied, especially if someone makes a, for lack of a better word, mistake. However, when I go to Rose’s I think a mistake is not possible, because it simply does not look possible. The staff is entertaining, and you can tell they want to be there. The restaurant alone feels like a home that you just want to either bring some of your closest friends for some laughs or bring your main squeeze for a little alone time. It just brings that good old, classic feeling we have to feel entertained.  

The food speaks for itself from Chef, Aaron Silverman. It is a perfect combination of innovation and originality.  To begin with as well as the ultimate staple of the evening besides my (yes, my) Fig Martinez is the potato bread. With butter. The crispy squid salad is an ultimate starter dish. Designed to share, I almost felt like using it as a spread rather than a salad with its creamy combination of avocado, crema, and lime.

Uni scrambled eggs, potatoes, and hollandaise. I am at the point now where I feel like I am in a fairly tale and magic is actually happening during my meal. I am not usually a fan of fried food, despite the fact I was raised in the deep south. However, the fried chicken with honey and benne seed syncs sweet and savory into an addicting symphony that never wants to end. The brisket sandwich can be on or off the menu and will be waiting for you if you ask for it.



And for dessert? Mascaparone with fruit and crumbles as a “cheese course” is simply one of the best things I have ever tried here in DC. Doughnuts with vanilla ice cream and Cabot cheddar sprinkled on top. You think you might despise it, but you will not stop thinking about it after you try it.

The combination of vintage dishware, simplistically bohemian decor, hanging garden lights, and now the garden rooftop makes you feel like you are being entertained in an enchanted courtyard. Rose’s simply has the right pieces to make the right combinations, making you never wanting to leave and itching to come back.


So, do yourself a favor: If you really want to just have a good time, show off what today’s DC dining is all about, or spoil yourself for that matter then go to Rose’s Luxury. It is a genuine magic maker in the heart of DC.

Rose's Luxury
717 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
202.580.8899
www.rosesluxury.com 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Negroni Week



The Negroni. One of the few cocktails I have enjoyed for years. It is the cocktail that made me fall in love with various spirits that I used to despise, Campari and Gin. Now, I am amazed to even think I did not enjoy these flavors when I was younger. Just more proof that as one becomes older and wiser, so becomes one's palate.

I happen to admire this cocktail so much that I shared my respect for it last year in a previous post .  Therefore, you cannot be too surprised to know how excited I am that Imbibe and Campari are teaming up on June 2nd for Negroni Week, a Drink for a Cause. Participating locations will be promoting the classic cocktail, and a portion of the earnings will go to a charity of choice. Everything from the vintage recipe to the modernist creation will be to your savoring, depending on the location you plan to go to.

Since I live in DC, I plan to tour around the participating locations in the area. So check the event's website out to see which bars and restaurants are celebrating the one and only Negroni in your area. I will share some of my favorites and not so favorites so stay tuned.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sparkling Champagne Truffles

I had to try this recipe the instant I found it online. I have been working on some personal projects and thought this would be a decadent extra to those who are to receive them. I needed to find something that would grasp their attention, and I thought this recipe would do the trick. Plus, I’ve always had a fascination with them even though I am not an certified “Chocolatier”.



The recipe comes from Martha Stewart. I did not have any Cognac in the house but I did have Chambord so I used that as an alternative. The result: I think personally better but I think it depends on what your taste buds gravitate to. Check it out below:


Monday, March 17, 2014

Catch Up

Such a long time from here. Too long. Much too long. Much has happened since I have last visited here. My schedule has become much less time consuming which means I can focus on sharing again! Just a small recap since I was last here. More of my pictures from my endeavors are on Instagram and Twitter if you want to see more of what I have been up to recently.



I toured the Golden Isles for a very special event of my sister's wedding. Drank one a many gin and tonics, soaked some sun, and enjoyed many walks along the beach. I had the opportunity to have my first Dairy Queen Blizzard in years which was shocking, to say the least. I enjoyed the holidays both in DC and Baltimore. Ate a ton, drank a ton and had a wonderful time with the family and friends. More importantly, I got to make my favorite holiday dish, our family’s very own Oysters Rockefeller. 



Lately however, I have been experiencing very intense food cravings. I think it is because of this crazy weather DC has been experiencing this season. For instance, I can have a chocolate chip muffin every day of my life if I wanted to, no matter how hard someone tries to stop me. Turkey and avocado wraps with lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese have been nonstop, especially since my favorite deli in town knows how to make them the way I like them. Sweet potatoes have also been a thing for me lately, especially sweet potato soup. Its filling for the weather but not too heavy on your stomach. I also developed a trend for peas lately. Peas in pasta, pea soup, pea risotto, you name it. I think Spring was flirting with my taste buds and I had to take advantage of it. 


I have developed a passionate love for scotch over this season and starting to consider to make some of my own digestives and aperitifs. I will keep you posted what I discover, because I am starting to believe that I cannot live without some of these new discoveries.



As for places? Well, I am obsessed with Rose’s Luxury in Capitol Hill and Mintwood Place is becoming a solid staple, especially since I am not far away from this little treasure. 

There is much more, plus posts that I committed to finish sharing so stay tuned. I just started catching up.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

41 Degrees


I feel compelled to share one final experience in Barcelona which was at 41 Degrees, the renown restaurant by Albert Adria. For those unaware who Albert Adria is, he is the brother to Ferran Adria, the man behind the restaurant, El Bulli in Roses, Spain. These masterminds decided to open 41 Degrees since closing El Bulli back in 2011.

I did not get to experience El Bulli in its prime, but 41 Degrees was certainly an exception. 41 Degrees allows their guests to use all senses in creating the ultimate gastronomic experience. It felt as if I was enjoying dinner and theater together, performing together as one.

Below are highlights of my experience at the restaurant. Even though these pictures are only small samplings of what my meal was there, nothing can compare to what it felt like in person. I was in the middle of my own, intimate culinary dream and did not want to wake up.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Boqueria


The Boqueria, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Barcelona was by far, one of my favorite places to visit during my trip to Spain. I think I visited it every day while I was there.



The one way I believe you can grasp the ultimate feel of how a culture lives is by visiting the local market. You can see everything there: How people interact with one another, what are the local commodities, what items are considered popular, how items are marketed to the demographic, it is ultimately one of the most exposed ways of observing a culture and I absorbed it like a sponge.


The Boqueria’s origins are unknown to this date, but historians do know that the market was built around 1200. It was known as a market for travelers but evolved into a destination for locals throughout several centuries.The Boqueria also was not originally in the same exact location. It was originally along the La Rambla, one of the city’s main pedestrian areas, but as the market’s popularity grew, so did the market. The church of Saint Josep was eventually destroyed in 1835 in order to make more room for the market. Today, the Boqueria’s eclectic atmosphere has grown to international fame throughout the past century, so much that it won the “Best Market in the World” in 2005 at the World Markets Congress in Washington, DC.



I could spend hours at the Boqueria just sampling, savoring and buying all of the delectable foods they offer on a daily basis. I probably would have a dinner party at least one night a week just so I could find an excuse to go there. As you approach the open aired entrance, prized legs of jamon are dangling at the sides of the market, teasing your appetite. If that is not enough for you, mountains of chocolates and sweets tumble along your path, secretly flirting with your sweet tooth. I had a difficult time to not spoil my dinner while I was touring the Boqueria for the first time. From there, endless rows of fruits, vegetables, various meats and seafood overflow the market as if it was Willy Wonka’s Factory of food. I could not leave.




The feast does end start there. Just following to the right of the entrance, Quim Marquez, one of Barcelona’s celebrated chefs, operates a humble tapas bar known as El Quim de la Boqueria. El Quim has been the home to the Boqueria since 1987 and remains to be a mandatory destination to savor classic Spanish tapas.




I simply did not have enough time in this original Barcelona institution. If I had it my way, I probably would stay another week just to get the full flavor of places such as the Boqueria. The Boqueria made me understand why Barcelona is a culinary destination for aspiring chefs or adventurous foodies. The endless variety of local foods are presented in such a basic yet magical way that leaves you speechless if you are touring for the first time. When I return, I will undoubtedly make sure that I make an excuse to visit the Boqueria at any chance I get. 




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A La Casa






So much time has passed and I still have not even shared one bit of my travels in Spain! I mainly went to Spain as a monumental birthday gift to myself. My birthday is in December so I decided to go in the early Spring when the weather is not as harsh.

My idea of traveling is that I try to travel as local as possible wherever I go. In this case, I stayed with a wonderful family outside of Barcelona in Terrassa. They reminded me of my close friend's family in Germany. Their genuine hospitality, the more than authentic foods, the local surroundings, I cannot get enough of it and I never will.

The best introduction I could ever have to Spanish cuisine, apart from my day job of course, was to be a guest of this wonderful house. I did not get to have the restful 3 hour nap that I usually get upon arrival in Germany, but I did get to enjoy a 1.5 power nap instead to get myself back on my feet and more importantly, ready to eat my heart away. I ate every day in Spain as if it was Thanksgiving, and I feel like that is how it is like no matter where you go in the country. I left with an overall impression that everyone eats and drinks all day long. Rather, I felt their whole day is around eating and drinking. Despite our terribly high rates of obesity in this country, I feel like our whole day is surrounded by work rather than food, but that is another conversation for another time. 

What better way to start off your first trip to Spain than having paella? Even though I have no photos, I still remember the taste in my mouth as if it happened yesterday: fresh mussels, chicken and vegetables as if they came straight from the backyard. No matter how much I ate, there was still more for some reason, as if it was a dream. We washed the deliciousness with a local American white wine I brought from home as a gift. Despite the dense language barrier, my new friends understood every expression I had as I enjoyed their simple but yet masterpiece of a lunch they specially made for me. 


After a marathon day of traveling in the city, I returned home to, you guessed it, more food. What fascinated me the most out of this meal was the beberichos, otherwise known as cockles. I think I have tried this simple treasure once before when I was a child at a Spanish restaurant in Germany, but it was such a vague memory that I would not even consider it valid anymore.  I asked my friends at least twice what these were as I could not imagine the idea of the insides of mini seashells. Salty but sweet, briny and so simple, I could eat those little guys all day long with some bread, olives and  wine. For what I thought was it for the evening, we then feasted on lightly fried merluza, or hake as we call it. I think I ate a whole foot long fish. We finished with some light cookies and fresh fruit. It could not have been a more perfect start to my trip, even though my head was struggling to stay up at this point. 

Out of all of these wonderful items I tried at my friends' home, I immediately went searching for cockles once I returned from my trip. I had a terrible time finding them in DC, but I did manage to discover them in New York during one visit. They costed me a fat $17, but I was so happy that I finally discovered them that I did not care how much they cost me to enjoy them again. Will I think again the next time I see them? Yes, even though I would rather enjoy them anytime, all the time.