Sunday, March 18, 2012

his and hers

There has been a lot of FUN in my life lately. So it’ll take awhile to catch up. Let’s celebrate this day-after-Saint-Patrick’s-Day with a tribute to… Saint Valentine!

Because to rid myself from the commercialism of Valentine’s Day (psych, or cause I’m too lazy to post lately), I’m posting about it more than a month after the fact! I love my Valentine every day!

Romance ahead:


Steve and I had admired Russia House from the street while strolling around Dupont on past occasions. It’s a cute old brownstone, with Christmas lights (extra points).

Inside continues on that general motif, with a fireplace! Fake. But nice. I would’ve been able to use the warmth (this was back in February, when it was occasionally cold, as opposed to March, when I get sunburned! Madness!)


I didn’t know all that much about Russian food, minus what I’d gleaned from reading Please to the Table, a pleasantly dense cookbook if there ever was one.

What I do know is that they know their bread, particularly of the dense and dark variety. That pumpernickel was laced with dried fruit and walnuts and was YUMMY!


We decided the funnest way to order was to share a bunch of little things. Because certain people (named me) cannot make up their mind to save their life.



I suggested the salad with beets and goat cheese, cause I can’t not order goat cheese, duh. It was pepped up with shredded carrots and though heavily dressed, pleasantly vinegary.


Steve suggested the elk (!) sausage, served with cherry mostarda and on a bed of (holy butter) kabocha squash. Fascinating flavor! Steve lovvvvvvvvved this.


More sharesies: vareniki, cheese-stuffed dumplings. With cauliflower and, I recall, mentions of persimmon somethingorother and truffle oil.

SO GOOD. Delicious textures and flavors, and drennnnnnnnnched in butter. Every element in this contributed to its sweet, earthy, and rich flavors; but it didn’t get overwhelmingly heavy. Everything was bright and vibrant! I loved this.


We also split blini, with caviar  (ooh la la) cause that seems like a super Russian thing, no?


The blini were stuffed with delightfully rich sour cream that made the pop-in-your-mouth brightness of the caviar shine.

And the homemade pickles! Cucumbers, yes, but also pearl onions and celery (!) So delightful.


After dinner it just felt so fun and exciting to be in DC on a Monday night (we only live a few miles out but it just is… difficult to get there, with traffic and Metro $$$ and parking and so on and so on and so on) and we just didn’t want to leave.

So I suggested a stroll through Dupont to perhaps find a place to grab a drink.

And then Darlington House looked so stinkin’ cute I knew we had to go in.

They have a really pretty, really serene (at least on a weeknight!) bar. They are also to be commended for having EXCELLENT bar food.


The most unusual looking/tasting excellent green olives…


… and tremendously addictive homemade potato chips.


Blue Moon for him, house Chianti for her. Both excellent.


Will return, Darlington House. You are darling.

Love is… putting up with my cat when you are trying to study.

(She is super, mega in love with Steve.)


I put up with her crap, too. I love her.


Love is squeezing in a romantic random Thursday lunch together between classes (me) and Americorps tasks (him).

We used to get to do these pretty much every Thursday last year when we were both in Americorps (after, when I’d return to work all giggly, my fellow Corps members would mock me mercilessly). Lunches between tedious work are great. Like here. And here



My latest round of veggie burgers (the baby one for me, the mac daddy one for him)

My veggie burgers are him-inspired though, because:

Returning from our wunnerful President’s day weekend beach trip, Steve decided oh, an hour and a half after his large breakfast that he was still hungry. Very very hungry.

So we pulled over to Burger King where he bought two (?!) veggie burgers. Massive and mayo-drenched, natch.

He offered me a bite, and having never had a veggie burger at Burger King and mildly curious (call it research for if I’m ever stranded in a [food] desert), I accpted.

And it wasn’t half bad! Because it was just one of those yummy Morningstar Farms veggie burgers. So THEN I decided that they were overpriced and I’d design my own recipe.


Morningstar Burgers

¾ c. lentils, cooked in 1 ½ c. water
2 tsp. canola oil
¼ c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic
2 c. frozen mixed veggies, thawed
½ c. oats
½ c. breadcrumbs
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. oregano
2 T fresh parsley
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. dried sage


Lunch also included the last of my mega-vat of applesauce, which will definitely be its own post:


And I also brought salad, because I am the salad maker in the relationship. It contained pears and goat cheese, along with arugula, mm.


But, to Steve’s credit, he is embracing the vegetables like never before.

He said, “Before you, I didn’t know how easy it was to roast vegetables. When you took vegetables, and drizzled them with olive oil, and roasted them… it was so good! I did not know!”

Such adorable earnestness.

And the student has surpassed the teacher, cause this was guh-reat.


Indoor picnic. Lovely.


Finally, love is someone who lets you use their phone and then sends you the pictures when you go, “Agh! I just made a perfect omelet and forgot my camera!”

Obviously, these things must be documented.


I try to return the kindness; Steve had a powerful craving for cheese grits for brunch but we were also nearing hangry-ness, and Oriental Supermarket, the bodega walking distance from his apartment, only had Hispanic corn products (I. Love. Steve’s. Neighborhood.)

So some masa harina, some queso fresco, and a few other improvisations (including what ended up being a LOTTT of black pepper, which fortunately both of us like) and it was “grits”! Ish. Word to the wise: if you plan on doing this, expect a small burn on your inner arm.

It’s okay. Beautiful brunch, excellent company.


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