Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Okay, this review is LONG overdue, so bear with me as I try to conjure up my food memories!

PS-7s was on Washingtonian's best restaurants list in 2010, fell out of favor in 2011, and has reappeared in the most recent version. When P and I went in late November, we agreed that it must be reinstated. Seriously, what a fantastic meal.

What's really great about this restaurant is that it's just a step below a true special occassion restaurant (read, you won't blow $400 for two people), but the food and service are definitely above your average random-Saturday-night-in-the-city dinner. And they do Groupons!

When the hostess called to confirm our reservation and asked if we were celebrating anything, I said, "um, well, we just bought a new house. Does that count?" Apparently it did, because they pulled out all the stops to help us celebrate! Every person we interacted with during the night acknowledged the event, we got the most romantic table in the place, AND gratis cava.

The food made us feel equally special. The table bread: delish, especially the soda bready-type cornbread. We share a flatbread (I think it had pumpkin, pepitas, and prosciutto maybe?) and a salad, both of which were really yummy and large. Then I got the deconstructed paella, which, with the exception of slightly overly charred shrimp, was perfectly cooked. And the shrimp still had their heads!!!! LOVE. P got some sort of seafood stew, which he also liked, although not as much as I liked mine. I think we also got desert, but I honestly don't recall.

Bottom line: If PS-7s ever misstepped, it's back. We would definitely return, and although I don't necessarily recommend going here for, say, your engagement dinner, it's definitely worth finding a reason for your dinner to be a celebration of some sort! (x-posted to yelp.com)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dinner this Week: French Onion and Apple Soup; Ma Po Tofu

What a delicious week we had! My sister was in town on Tuesday, so we had her over for dinner and ate French Onion and Apple Soup. Definitely time intensive (it takes almost an hour just to caramelize the onions) but also definitely worth it! I added a skinless, boneless chicken breast to make it an entree dish--just toss in the chicken when you add the broth, and at the end, remove, shred with two forks, and return to the pot.

I also made the following subs:
-2 tbsp butter, not 3
-~1/2 tsp dried time in place of the sprigs
-apple juice instead of cider
-cider vinegar in place of the sherry vinegar
-no cheese.

We had this with a simple salad (read: bowl of lettuce) with a maple-mustard vinaigrette (olive oil, grainy mustard, cider vinegar and maple syrup). The only real downfall is that we were all pretty hungry again within a couple hours of eating. Next time, more chicken!

Later in the week, P and I had Ma Po Tofu. I had this dish once in Okinawa and looooved it, so I was really excited to find a recipe in CL! This I made fairly close to the recipe, but with Boca crumbles in place of the sirloin, no chili oil, sticky brown rice (we are a no white rice household, outside of risotto) and chopped broccoli (no broccolini at the HT!). Sooooo good that P had almost 3 servings!

Also, both make amazing leftovers. In fact, since I forgot to take pics at dinner this week, that's how you get to see the ma po tofu:
This year is off to a delicious start! It's a good thing these are CL recipes, because I need to fit into my wedding dress in March...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Seasonal Pantry

Seasonal Pantry is a really special place. And I don't mean special in the pedantic or the euphemistic sense. It is really, genuinely special.

P surprised me on my birthday by having our friends book the whole table (10 seats in all), and it was such an amazing birthday treat! Honestly, it was like we were hosting an intimidate dinner party, cooked by a professional. Actually, that's kind of exactly what it was.

The week we went the menu was seafood-themed and presented to us in pictures and words on paper at each seat. Chef even drew an octopus, which I thought was an impressive feat!

The meal was really filling and absolutely delicious. While everything was not perfectly executed (the first course was a little heavy on the citrus, the fish skin was just, not quite crispy in another), most was very well done (including perfectly cooked mussels and octopus). And where the chefs lacks on execution, he makes up for it in creativity. Never would I have thought to shave octopus, or to pair mussels with almonds, or to make smoke-flavored crackers. The mussel dish, in particular, was Michelin-star worthy--probably 20 mussels per diner, all de-shelled and plump, in an amazingly sumptuous coconut sauce with green apple and almonds.

And everything was at minimum tasty, if not gorge-worthy. Even the dessert, which the chef admitted was his weak point, was delicious--a sweet potato tarte tatin with homemade vanilla bourbon ice cream. Admittedly, I actually went back for a last piece of bread to sop up the melty part of the ice cream on my plate (don't judge).

I do wish the dishes had been better paired with wines, as opposed to one red and one white that were served throughout the meals. I offered to help for a small consulting fee (shockingly, no takers)!

If you have the opportunity to dine at Seasonal Pantry, do. It's so different from your typical restaurant experience and at a really reasonable price. (portions x-posted to yelp.com)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dinner Tonight: Crack Sprouts

To the less adventurous, roasted brussels sprouts with capers, walnuts, and anchovies probably does not sound particularly appealing. With the exception of maybe the walnuts, I think a lot of people are not fans of at least one of the title ingredients. But, I can pretty much guarantee that passing up on this dish would be an unfortunate mistake.

Because holy mini-cabbages, this is the most amazing brussels sprouts dish I've ever had. I made F&W's crack sprouts (not, technically, their name) as a contribution to a very festive and delicious Christmas Eve dinner at the Hennesy's. As directed, I roasted the sprouts (which actually took less than half the described time to roast) 4 hours early, then dressed them right before dinner after reheating. Used somewhat less walnuts, but other than that, prepared as written. Honestly, if I had not been at a formal dinner setting with other people, I probably would have a) eaten the whole dishful myself and b) possibly licked the bowl afterwards. Yes. Apparently it is possible to even make brussels this addictive. Add this to your repertoire and I promise you won't be disappointed!