Friday, April 15, 2011

best weekend


(Cue Kitty on Arrested Development. Anyone?!)

Anyway, excited for it because my life has been on a positive turn after rawther a long stretch of being a Negative Nancy. Last weekend was the BEST. You know everything great about weekends? Spending time with all your favorite people like your awesome family and friends and the dude you’re in love with? Relaxing? Exercising? Being in sunshine? Seeing new sights? Eating good food?

I did all that! I didn’t think of my low morale job once!

Saturday I got up, ate breakfast, went to the farmer’s market, and went to the gym. Where I ran A MILE! This for 99.99% of food blog readers and writers is an absolutely puny accomplishment (one mile?! on a treadmill?! In 10 plus minutes?!) but hot damn it was huge for me. I sort of will never really consider myself a properly fit person until I can run, if not well, at least competently. And I did it! I ran! A mile! A whole mile! Listening to Born This Way on repeat! And felt not awful when it was done! And felt not awful the next day! This is huge huge hugey huge.

Then went over to my awesome boyfriend’s where he’d made me awesome lunch (black bean and rice salad with orange vinaigrette, cilantro, green onions, etc.) and we lounged around and watched Freaks and Geeks and did NOTHING.

Then I got new jeans for $10, an awesome bargain and a necessity since every every every other pair had holes in the crotch!

Sunday was the kite festival at the Smithsonian. Planned to Metro, but then I was in Rosslyn (the last stop in Arlington… so the last stop in Virginia before you go under the river to DC) and there was drama with a disabled vehicle and seriously Metro sucks and it could’ve been hours. So I just WALKED! To the Washington Monument.

Where I met up with the gang for KITE FIGHT!

As part of the kite festival, people assemble with kites for various competitions. The kites were gorgeous, and as they took to the air, I bet on this cool Mona Lisa (and Steve bet on a loser blue kite)…


… and we all watched owners maniacally run across the grounds trying to block other kites and knock them out of the air. It. was. awesome.


My kite (Mona Lisa) OWNED Steve’s kite (Big Blue). It was great.

Also great: watching Kyle and Steve communicate.

“Yeah man. Right on man. That techno song IS sick.”

Also, they shared a sweet potato.


Steve and I spent the next few hours working our way up Connecticut Avenue, stopping at frequent intervals to play frisbee. Also to watch a coupla protests (the people from Honduras had a parade with really awesome floats with witches on them!) Also upon seeing a statue, river, or landmark, we took turns making up outlandish and entirely fictionalized stories about them. Adorable.

Fortified ourselves with SELF SERVE FROYO!

In this bowl: peanut butter, banana, strawberry, and tart blueberry. Real strawberries and blueberries. Pecans. A banana chip.


And then they had COMPLIMENTARY HOT FUDGE! Went nutso.


Final destination: Dino, for Ladies Night for my mama’s official birthday celebration (to state the obvious, Steve left.)

I’ve been crushing on Dino from afar for awhile, and loved it when I went in. It’s Italian (love), rustic style (love) with an emphasis on local and ethical producers (LOVE!). It’s one of those great neighborhoody places, but it has really stellar food. I have a huge crush on Cleveland Park now. Sadly, I am not a gazillionaire.


Began with bread. The darker one was super seedly and so delicious. The crumb and texture on all of them were scrumpsh.

Also, I think the bread basket was bamboo! Love when things are green and also pretty!


Me and the Photographer: Part One in a Series.

I write a food blog. My photographic technique consists of pointing my camera at things and clicking it. My aunt is a trained photographer. Despite taking many of her pictures nowadays using Hipstamatic on her iPhone, she totally owns me.

Here is the wine selection for a table

DSC03516denas vino

(a sprinkling of whites. Mine was what the waiter told me to get. Love getting recs. It was among the cheapest, too!)

Dino has a nice deal Sunday through Thursday where if you order by 7 pm you get a three course menu for $27. We all sprung for it!

Three of the four of us sprang for (menu description)

Next Step sunchokes {MD} ~ pan roasted ~ lemon, walnuts & herbs

Me and the Photographer: Part Two in a Series

DSC03517denas sunchokes

Have you ever had a sunchoke? These were SO simply prepared (seemed like basically just heat and olive oil and salt and pepper, with a lovely sprinkling of walnuts), but it’s a really good vegetable!

Like a cross between an artichoke and a potato.


My mama got wonderful soup

Zuppa di Senape e Riso   
peppery brew of Zach’s mustard greens, cabbage, potato, carrot & onion ~ veggie stock ~ summer tomato essence ~ sage , rosemary & oregano ~ rice ~ lots of grana cheese


Had a taste and it was just… perfect soup. Amazing depth of flavor.

It took me forevvvvvvvvvv to decide on an entree but finally, as I sort of always do, I decided I couldn’t turn down fresh made pasta when given the opportunity to eat it.

So I got

assorted wild & exotic mushrooms ~ garlic & sage ~
house pappardelle


So, first of all, as the preset menu this was supposed to be a half serving of the pasta and holy massive plate of pasta I cannot imagine the full. The mushrooms were soooooooooooo yummy; varied in texture and deep in flavor and intensely, intensely, garlicky.

The pasta was unquestionably fresh. Oh, chew.


Still, I must confess, it became repetitive.

I had some plate envy towards my mom and cousin, who both got

Tris di Verdure   
farro risotto w/ walnuts, Brussels sprouts {WV} & golden raisins w/house summer tomato sauce  ~ spinach & ricotta sformata {WV} ~
ceci & borlotti beans, greens, assorted ‘shrooms 


The risotto? Bangin’. Gotta get my hands on some farro. Again, such CHEW! Adorably tiny brussels sprouts. Pops of sweetness from the golden raisins. The beans? MELT IN YOUR MOUTH BUTTERY PROTEINACEOUS AWESOMENESS. The sformata? What’s a sformata? Do I care? No. Not when it is cheesy spinachy lemon flecked awesomeness.

I couuuuuuuuuuuld not make up my mind on dessert. I am a failure at dessert decision making. So after several minutes of dithering and angsting our waiter said, “I’m just going to bring you something.” It was great. I need guidance when I eat.

What I ended up with?

Gelato Tricolore    
a triple layer slice of Valrhona chocolate, rhubarb & balsamico, cardamom vanilla ~ chocolate sauce


Why isn’t everyone on earth serving cardamom vanilla and strawberry balsamic ice cream?! Well, because it would never be as good as this. Beautiful, beautiful flavor. Wowsa.

My mother the birthday girl got the rustic apple pancake with a cinnamon gelato topper, complete with a candle. These guys are not messing around with their gelato!


My aunt got vanilla gelato with a sweet balsamic reduction that like… made my life worth living. Had I mentioned they are NOT MESSING AROUND WITH THEIR GELATO?!


And Lara got a pistachio cake, which I ended up finishing off :D



Lele said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maria Zacharias said...

Wow -- your mom got treated to two delicious meals in one weekend -- she must be quite a gal!

Jess said...

I am on spring break as well!! ENJOY!!

Steven Alexander Heathcliff Basil Bert said...

Ileana, your one mile run is like Sammy Clay dreaming up the League of the Golden Key. It's the groundbreaking proof that anything is attainable.

"Al-safar zafar."

Brittney said...

I love fresh pappardelle! Isn't it the best?? I lived near DC for 6 years and never tried that restaurant. Looks awesome!