Friday, August 28, 2015

16 Years!

Last week, on the 21st of August, my husband and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary!! Yep, we've actually made it that long and are still in love! It hasn't always been easy but we've always stuck together…okay enough of the cheesy, mushy stuff!


 Anywho…so we took the day off from work to relax and do some fun stuff. We ended up going to see the movie Shaun the Sheep (which is very cute and funny…big fan of Wallace and Grommet and most things from Aardman Studios) at the Alamo Drafthouse in One Loudoun. If you haven't been to the Alamo, you need to go check it out. The theaters are very nice and small, which is good because you know it won't be overcrowded. You have the option to assign your own seats and they serve food like in a restaurant, with a waitress and everything. And I have to say, I was surprised how good the food was the first time we went.


Its nothing spectacular or 5 star but its like upscale bar food and everything we've had has been pretty tasty. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures because 1. its dark in there, and 2. they are very strict about no cell phone use. But we've tried their loaded fries, a couple pizzas, and fish 'n chips. Everything was delicious and not very overpriced. They also have a few different sodas for those who are more drink connoisseurs. If there is a unique drink offered, I'm probably gonna try it. They have homemade root beer, which is probably my favorite soda, and they also offer Italian sodas which are sweet and creamy!

hotel bathroom...never seen a sink like this before!

hotel lobby...love the green glass chandeliers!

Later that night we went downtown to have a nice dinner in the Penn Quarter area of DC.  There are a ton of good restaurants in that little area and there was one we've had our eye on for quite a while, called Poste. It serves French-American cuisine and it sits in the middle of the Hotel Monaco. That evening the weather was very tolerable for being August so we got to dine outside in the courtyard. It was a beautiful night and the food was delicious!


First we were served an amuse bouche…a little kiss or taste from the kitchen. A roasted mushroom crostini…savory, earthy, just melts in your mouth! A good sign of things to come!



It just so happened to be restaurant week when we were there so we got to take advantage of some specials. If you choose to order from the restaurant week menu, you get an appetizer, entree, and dessert for $35. Not bad at a place like this. Hubby is not a dessert guy so he didn't take this option. But we both ordered an appetizer. I chose the crispy duck ravioli. It was a large crispy wonton stuffed with juicy, tender duck meat that had been braised with Asian flavors, served with a caramelized onion and carrot slaw, and drizzled with a soy garlic sauce. A good combination of sweet and salty.


Hubby's appetizer was wagyu tartare, basically raw wagyu beef that was served like a terrine on a crostini. It was prepared with pine nuts, arugula, parmesan, and truffle vinaigrette, and topped with potato croutons (like fancy tater tots!). If the thought of raw beef scares you, you are missing out on a good thing! Trust me, its yumma yumma!


Then for the entrees: steak frites and halibut. The steak frites is a 12oz ribeye served with truffle fries and a couple of savory dipping sauces. What's not to like? For me, I chose halibut, a bit of a lighter dish because I was holding out for dessert!  The halibut was pan seared and served with saut√©ed pea leaves, wild mushrooms, ramps, and a chili oil sauce. It was light and fresh! The sauce made even the greens taste good!



Then came my favorite part: dessert! I'm a sucker for goat cheese, especially when it comes in a cheesecake! This goat cheese cheesecake was served with sour cherries, buckwheat-hazelnut sable, micro sorrel, and sangria sorbet. Ok so first, a definition lesson. I actually had to look up a few of these words while at dinner so I would know what I was eating. Let's start with the buckwheat hazelnut sable.  This is essentially a fancy thin crispy shortbread style cookie. It sort of had a nutty, slightly bitter taste. That might sound like a bad thing, however, the bitterness created the perfect balance for all the other flavors there.


Next definition: micro sorrel. Sorrel is a type of green herb and micro just means it has small leaves. Yes there was a green herb in my dessert! It was a little strange but somehow it worked! The whole dessert had every flavor combo…sweet, bitter, savory, tart, salty. As much as I love the whole over-the-top-chocolate-peanut butter things, these kind of unique desserts end up being some of my favorite. Unexpected flavors that tantalize every area of your tongue!


And since it was our anniversary, the staff also brought out a special surprise! A miniature chocolate coffee mousse cake topped with strawberry sorbet! Hubby only took one bite so it was up to me to finish my own dessert and this one before the candle burnt out…I won!


And THEN, as if that all wasn't enough, while we were waiting for our check, they brought us out another amuse bouche…some kind of little almond sponge cake topped with apricot jam, I believe. So instead of an after-dinner mint, we got after-dinner cake!


It was a great night! Was it absolutely the best restaurant ever? No, but it was deliciously satisfying food and the company wasn't too bad either! Happy 16 years, Superking! Here's to many more! <3

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Spies at Union Market

On our recent stay-cation we took a day and went to DC. Our first stop was the Spy Museum which was pretty cool and very interesting. It definitely makes you look at people differently.  I mean, how many people do you walk by every day that could be spies?! Who knows?! At any rate, all that spying made us hungry.


spy book
Bond...James Bond

 So afterwards we went to lunch at Union Market. So many vendors to choose from with lots of tastiness. As much as we like trying all different kinds of ethnic foods or unique foods, we were drawn to the smoky aromas of some good ol' Southern barbecue! We split a meal of brisket with two kinds of sauce, and a bowl of baked beans.





The brisket was sweet and tender and juicy! And the beans were unlike any other baked beans I've ever had. There was a mixture of several types of beans, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spices. I'm generally a little picky about the kinds of beans I like to eat and when I order baked beans, I expect the traditional variety. However, these were pretty darn tasty! I would eat those over and over! Delish!

ninja at the Spy Museum

authors who were spies!

Next we decided to try some empanadas. DC Empanadas actually has a food truck as well as kiosk here at Union Market. We've eaten at their food truck before so we already knew these would be yummy. We got one cheese one and one beef one. The cheese one, also known as Speedy Gonzalez, was nice and gooey and salty with a mixture of 3 kinds of cheese: queso blanco, asadero, and mozzarella. The beef one, called El Toro, had chipotle seasoning, onion, garlic, cilantro, cheese, blakc beans, and corn. A little spicy, a little cheesy, very savory.



Can't wait to go back to Union Market in the fall to celebrate the Crafty Bastards craft show!



Monday, August 10, 2015

BarTaco

I love tacos! My favorite restaurant we went to on our last vacation to Charleston, was Taco Boy. I also love the idea of small plates so you can try a variety of things in one sitting without gorging yourself. Taco Boy serves their tacos by the piece in that "small plate" idea for that very reason. So when we saw this new restaurant going in at Reston Town Center called BarTaco, we discovered they had a similar concept on their menu and we knew we had to check it out.


BarTaco's opening couldn't have come at a better time. We opted out of a vacation this in an effort to save some money so we did a "stay-cation" instead. Having dinner at BarTaco during this stay-cation, was like a little piece of the beach here at home.


Even though we came for the tacos, we couldn't pass up the fresh-made guacamole to start the meal! It was creamy and spicy with a touch of lime. Instead of being served with traditional tortilla chips, they were large round fried tortillas that you could break off into any shape or size you wanted. A nice little different twist.


Our first line up of tacos went like this: duck, duck...goose! Haha, just kidding! At least about the goose part. Actually we both did get duck tacos, then I also got a curry shrimp and Superking got a pork belly. The duck was super tender and juicy and topped with fresh onions and cilantro. I think this one was my favorite. The curry shrimp had tomatoes and cilantro with a light curry sauce full of Indian spices. And the pork belly was topped with pickled red onions and cilantro.


For round two, we had sesame ribeye, portobello mushroom, and curry chicken. The ribeye taco had a sweet and zesty Asian flair. The portobello was light and earthy with a bit of queso fresco. And the curry chicken was similar to the shrimp and delicious! Every single taco was a bite of happiness!


And you can't have great tacos without amazing churros!! They were hot and crispy and smothered in cinnamon and sugar and served with a semi-sweet chocolate. The perfect ending for a vacation meal!