Monday, August 30, 2010

The DC Food Tour: Eggs First, Please

So, you've seen the groceries, and the froyo....but let's get on to some real food, ok? Becca and I met up with her sister, Kaycee to explore another part of the city centered around U Street.... and after an incredibly fun night of wine, cheese and techno/old school bar dancing we were in need of some brunch.

Ulah did not disappoint.

Best Benedict Ever! This was the Chesapeake Benedict, so instead of Canadian Bacon, that is fresh lump crabmeat you are seeing. Orgasmic, really. The potatoes were very tasty, too. I would eat this every morning if given the chance!

Kaycee's Mediterranean Egg White Omelet looked great too.

Becca ordered a salad, which I usually wouldn't crave for brunch, but when this beautiful chicken salad arrived at the table I was drooling a little bit. Something to try next time, perhaps?

 Located across the street from our brunch choice is the DC staple (and apparently a national icon of all  chili dog hook-ups, I had to brush up on my history and if you want to too, click the link!) Ben's Chill Bowl. Ben's was a cornerstone during the Civil Rights Movement and is still a cultural phenomenon that I hope to experience first hand in a future trip to DC. So many restaurants, so little time! Other claims to fame for Ben's: Ben Cosby gets his meals free there and apparently so does President Obama. Pretty sweet place to hang out I think!

Speaking of our prez, he so kindly snapped a picture with me. What a great guy!

Stay tuned for a DC Restaurant Week dinner and other thoughts about my trip to the nation's capital!

Love to all,
~the "maybe I could combine all my loves together and be a lobbyist for healthy foods in our schools?" gal, Jess

Friday, August 27, 2010

ABP, Museums and FroYo....oh my!

My flight up to DC was quite the adventure, so after a lightening storm caused delay in Orlando, a missed connection in ATL, a night stop over in SoALT courtesy of Wyndham Garden and an early flight into Reagan (which I learned is actually in VA, not DC-so funny to me!), by the time I landed I was ready to ROCK!

What better way to start of a wonderful 3 day weekend with my soul sister, Becca  than a picnic of Au Bon Pain on the National Mall? Don't mind if I do!

A delicious white bean salad and peach sweet tea

With an amazing view- In the Sculpture Garden, part of the Smithsonian's Art Museum

Which of course I had to visit! How amazing is the the Grand Atrium? 
(Actually, I don't know what this room is called, but I would name it the Grand Atrium!)

The only DaVinci (or Dah-Vinch! if you are Dr. Jiang) in the U.S. AND it's double sided....that Leo, he was a fancy dude!

One of my favorite portraits. Mom has this in her office, because it reminds her of me! 

Loved these- both are about 7 feet tall, and yet all the "action" is in the bottom 14 inches of the canvas. 

The "Art of Dissection" was a great, if tiny, exhibit. I actually took a ton of pictures, to use in my classes...but I'll spare you-for now at least! ha.

The following afternoon I hiked back down to the Mall solo to hit up the American History Museum.

I took about 90% more photos than I'm about to share, but most of them are of the "Founding Fathers of Science", so I'll spare you...again, great resources to use in my classroom. If only I could swing a week long field trip to DC for my kidlets!

The Food Blogger's arbitrary visit to Julia's Kitchen. If you haven't been yet, it's a tiny exhibit and was totally packed. I was a bit disappointed, but I'm not really into the cliche stuff anyways.

I really enjoyed the side exhibit on pop-up books. 
Can you believe that is a pop-up? So awesome!


Of course I visited the First Lady's exhibit. 
Michelle's dress was by far the best. Not that I'm biased or anything.

All that museuming worked up an appetite- FroYo was a must. 
Now, I've had my share of frozen yogurt, and I lean towards the tart/green tea varieties, but holy-moly was that Red Velvet Ah-MAZ-ing! I would eat it everyday, hands down! Whoot.

Stay tuned for more DC recaps! I'm fighting hard to resist researching jobs in the Nation's Capital, instead of writing next week's lesson plans!  Le sigh. 

Love to all,
~the "I must get my head of the DC clouds" gal, Jess

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trader Joe's Woes.....

As you all know, I live in the sticks. Like an hour from the nearest Publix....seriously tragic for a rather impulsive foodie like myself. And just to add to my grocery lamenting the closest Whole Foods is 2.5 hours away. Boo, boo, and more boo. I don't even want to mention Trader Joe's....but I will: the nearest TJ's is a whole state away! Yes, you heard me the entire Sunshine State cannot lay claim to a single Trader Joe's.

And then I saw this in my "local" WPB Urban Outfitters:

Talk about rubbing salt in the wound. Which explains the truly terrifying face I was making...sorry loves. (I think Visine will heal most minor eye irritations caused by looking at my ridiculous mug.)

But my recent trip to DC helped apply a slave to the gaping Trader Joe's abyss in my life.

I was traveling very light, with just a carry on, so I couldn't load up....but I have lots of ideas for next time, tehehe. (Yes, I had to take a picture with the Copious Condiments know my addiction runs deep!).  Bec and I stocked up on delicious cheeses, dried fruit of all varieties and of course wine. Ahhh. Nothing like great deals with a side of cute, chatty check out boy. Life is good, my friends.

Love to all,
~the Trader Joe's girl at heart, Jess

Monday, August 23, 2010

Now that's what I call breakfast!

Eat your heart out Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwiches. Tiny Lender's bagel with cream cheese, tomato, bacon (yum, bacon!) and a poached egg. Feel free to be jealous and then go make your own.

Love to all,
~the breakfast babe herself, Jess

Friday, August 20, 2010

Monday, August 8th 2005

It's the start of the school year for us teachers at Your Local Friendly High School, so I thought for this Flashback Friday I would share my return to college as a sophomore. Yes, last week was my return home from college and now we are headed back-it wasn't a very eventful summer I'm afraid to say. Enjoy! 

So hope everybody had a good weekend.  Mine was fair.  Or rather un-intresting.  I worked Saturday night, it wasn't even that busy and I made 100 bucks, that was cool.  Yesterday the main events were, go to church and decide that I am no longer going to attend St. Mad's.  Now I know this sounds trival considering I won't be home to go to church for almost 4 months but when I am home I won't be going there.  It is all bullshit and no longer religion and that is what upsets me so.  I just see all these little people who are on their stupid little power-trips and it just makes my blood boil.  Church is supposed to be about God and learning and following the life of Christ.  Not what we should sell in the gift shop and who the choir director is and I can go on and on.  So I will be content w/ St. Peter's at school and when I am home I will figure something new out.  Getting off my soap box now.
Ok, so other than that I have just been packing, etc.  I'm leaving Friday to stay w/Ash that night (yea! thanks so much girlie!) and then we move in on Saturday morning.  I still have to work this week but I guess the extra money will be good.  Lastly I finished my scrapbook for freshman year.  Very exciting.
Love to All,

This flashback is actually quite fitting since we are experiencing some major changes at St. Augustine's right now, which is the church I started attending with my parents when I was home from college and am a member of now that I'm living and working in the area again. Having my blowup with St. Madeline's was actually a blessing in disguise because it forced me to find a new church. St. Aug's is the smartest, most liberal Catholic church I've ever attended and I'm so proud to be a part of it. That is why it makes me very sad to announce that Father John Gillispie is no longer our Pastor. Because of some finical mumbo-jumbo with the dioceses the Bishop is transferring him to a new parish in St. Augustine, Fl. This is tragic, since Father John is the light at our church and the very reason it is so smart and liberal. He was ordained at St. Aug's and has been the pastor for the last 30 years! Now I'm not going to be leaving St. Aug's since our other 3 priests are just as wonderful in their own ways, but it makes me sad how political the higher ups in our church (I mean as a global church, not my local church) can be.

Love to all,
~the "always frustrated with the men that run our churches" gal, Jess

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

101 Downtown

The restaurant choices in Gville are split right down the middle-funky, eclectic, casual joints and more upscale, trendy establishments. (I'm not counting chain restaurants here.) Usually I frequent the former with my fellow Gvillians, but special occasions call for dressing up and hitting the later. What more of a special occasion than my bestie Christine's 25th Birthday? It's not everyday that you get to celebrate the quarter of a century mark in your partner in crime's wonderful life, ya know! 

So, per her request we dusted off our heels and wobbled (ok, only I wobbled to be fair) over to 101 Downtown whose claim to fame is as a Restaurant and Martini Lounge, plus a few stories that I can't share in mixed company (not my stories for once....I'd never been here before). 

Christine had reserved the Private Side Room which is described by the website as:

With modernized lighting, custom draperies, and a beautiful white granite table, this room is the perfect room for birthday parties, business meetings, and bachelorette parties.  The privacy created by our plush curtains, really make you feel like you are in your own restaurant.

Actually the lighting was incredibly hard to even read the drink menu dim, and the "plush curtains" make it impossible to get around the table. We referred to it as our private "linen closet" instead.

The large-sh party staggered in, so I understand that can be challenging for a server, but our waiter didn't even attempt to take my drink order for about 15 minutes after I arrived. Boo.

After finally getting my chance to order my dirty gin martini arrived, seriously lacking any "dirty." I didn't want to hassle with fixing the order, considering how long it had taken me to get my first drink, so I just delt with it. I did end up ordering a 2nd martini later in the night, and after insisting that it be "very, very" dirty, it straight from the olive jar dirty. Oh, well, I guess I got the equal amount of dirty if you averaged the two drinks together. 

For dinner I got creative and made my own entree by getting a side dish and a tapas app: Risotto di Giorno and the Sambai Shrimp

I was a little surprised when a "cake" of rice arrived with a boat of fried shrimp (now that I've looked at the menu online I realize the shrimp was my fault-it said tempura in the description) I told you the lighting was dim! Overall this was tasty, but pretty fair since I had created a bowl of creamy, rich risotto with grilled shrimp drizzled with wasabi cream sauce in my mind. 

The soup I also ordered was amazing though:

This take on a miso soup was very heavy in lemon flavor, which I abosulty adored. Surely helped make up for the martini's- 101 can get one type of liquid fare correct! 

I also enjoyed the silverware settings, which closely resemble the set I have on my fantasy wedding registry at Crate and Barrel.

See future husband of mine that I haven't found yet? 
We will have great flatware, what more do you need?

My overall feeling about 101 are mixed, but I would be willing to give it a 2nd chance. Regardless, I had a great night, because I was out with a wonderful group of people, celebrating one of the most amazing women in my life, so that is all that really matters!

Love to all,
~the "apparently I need better lighting to make good dinning choices" gal, Jess

Monday, August 16, 2010

Who Grills Veggies?

211 Grills Veggies!

Most of you know by now that the 211 girls are my roommates from college (we lived in suite 211 for 2 years-ironically in different buildings!). All three of us are now teachers, and with the start of the school year approaching we had a "last horrah" down in West Palm Beach. With our three crazy doggies in tow we checked out parks, got sandy and enjoyed the gentle surf of Juno beach, got sweaty, had Greek Treats and watched a lot of the Tudors on Netflicks when the afternoon rains rolled in.

Oh and we grilled out.....come and see here!

Eggplant, portabella mushrooms and zucchini were on the chopping block menu

The usual suspects for seasoning: EVOO, sea salt, black pepper, paprika and camera shy garlic

Rubbed up and ready to go, plus a white onion to grill up for the burgers....

....which Ash marinated in worchestire sauce.

In the hot zone!

Ummmm, tasty char marks!

My plate, all of the above plus some waffle fries from the oven. I ended up abandoning finishing my burger so I could go back for more veggies. Perfect summer meal!

Washed down with a lovely Malbec!

Here are some other shots from that weekend trip:

My Beloved Juno Beach

The 211 sidekicks: Chubby, Gatsby and Petey

I loved the way the wind was playing with my puppster's ear!

From the WBP location of Taverna Opa. Translated: Spinach Pie, Beef Meatball in Red Sauce, Fried Squid, Duh and Duh! This one order from the Hot Meze section of the menu satisfied three ravenous girls much to our waitress' dismay-it was a bit slow that night. (Well and wine, of course!)

Trio of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory

Silly Gatsby riding on the back dash of the car as we drove home to Orlando 
(and then Gville for Chub and I!)

It was such a great trip. I can never have enough time with my 211 girlies! We always lament that we don't live in the same town anymore....but life is funny, you never know what will happen next and perhaps that dream will happen again someday. Until then we have long weekends! 

Love to all,
~the "never to old to grill veggie with my college roomies" gal, Jess