Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review: Ben's Chili Bowl

Ben's Chili Bowl is a famous DC eatery that opened in 1958 and hasn't really changed since.

It's cozy and welcoming. It's also a little cramped because it's usually crowded.

They make chili (duh) and also offer it on hamburgers, cheese fries, hot dogs (including their famous half smokes). They also have vegetarian versions.

Jessica got a half smoke for her husband, ordered vegetarian chili cheese fries and I ordered a veggie chili dog.

She shared the fries with me, and Noah let me have a bite of his half smoke. It was delicious. It was juicy, full of flavor, and smoked just right. It didn't taste burnt at all.

The chili cheese fries were smothered in melted cheese and vegetarian chili. They were not soggy, but not exactly crispy after soaking in cheese and chili gravy. But I still loved them. I could taste the cheese, chili and potatoes in every bite. It was the perfect marriage of cheesy goodness and savory chili.

The veggie dog was good. I think if you're used to eating meat, it might not be your favorite thing on the menu. I enjoyed it. The chili really kicked up the flavor of the veggie dog. Here's a photo of it:

When it's messy, you know it's a proper chili dog. I didn't get to snap a photo of the chili cheese fries and the half smoke because they were gone in 2 seconds flat.

Grade: A

Check out their website.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spinach & Avocado Hummus Sandwich

Bear with me. This may seem like a strange concoction.

I call it Spinach & Avocado Hummus on Wheat, but it's also known as the "Christina Was Starving and She Needed a Sandwich Using Whatever Was in Her Fridge That Seemed Edible".

The first title sounds better, IMO.

Ingredient list:

-2 slices of hearty wheat bread (I used whole wheat Tuscan pane)
-5-6 fresh spinach leaves
-Hummus (I used garlic hummus)
-Red pepper spread (or any savory vegetable spread)
-1/2 of a small avocado, sliced
-Sea salt

1) Spread hummus on one slice, and red pepper spread on the other.

2) Layer the spinach and avocado on one slice, and sprinkle sea salt on top. Press the other slice on top and cut in half.

Monday, April 14, 2014

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

I've been wanting to do a post on this classic cookie for a while. It's such a comforting and basic version of chocolate chip.

Ingredient list:

-1/2 cup of softened butter
-1.5 cups of brown sugar
-1.25 cups of sugar
-1/2 tsp of baking soda
-1/8 tsp of salt
-1 & 1/8 cups of all purpose flour
-1 tsp of vanilla extract
-1 egg
-1 cup of white chocolate chips
-1/2 cup of chopped macadamia nuts

1) Beat together the butter and sugars. In a separate bowl,  blend the flour, salt and soda until it's a uniform mix.

2) Add the egg and vanilla to the butter/sugar mix. Mix it all together.

3) Gradually add the flour blend to the butter.sugar mix. Combine until you have a cookie dough.

4) Toss in the nuts and chips. Stir to combine.

5) Using your fingers and a spoon, scoop up a little dough and shape it into a disc with your fingers. Place on a cookie sheet. Try to fit 12 discs on the sheet and make sure there's some space between them.

6) Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Check them at the 8 minute mark. Once they are golden at the edges, pull them out. Try not to overbake them.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bakery Review: The Sweet Lobby

The Sweet Lobby is a bakery located at Barracks Row, Capitol Hill. It's owned by a brother and sister duo who both have degrees in chemical engineering.

The first time I went there, I bought a sweet potato-marshmallow cupcake and chocolate hazelnut MacTopped cupcake. Both were scrumptious. That is all you need to know.

But how did the Chocolate Chili Mactop, Green Tea Lantern and Butterscotch rate on the Delicious Scale?

The Green Tea Lantern comes with a cute paper hat. The flavor is very much like green tea, but also sort of mild and a little vanilla tasting. My friend told me she thought it tasted like white chocolate. It kinda does, but the green tea flavor comes through quite nicely. FYI, on Cupcake Wars this was the cupcake that won The Sweet Lobby the competition.

The Butterscotch was exactly how butterscotch cupcakes should be: real buttery taste with caramelized sugar and toffee bits. The cake was soft, not too crumbly and not overly sweet. I did not share with my friend. I know my karma is shot. I don't even care. It was that good.

Chocolate Chili:

It's a Red Hot Chili macaron atop a chocolate chili cupcake with chocolate frosting. The chili powder gave the just enough kick without overpowering the chocolate. It made the cupcake enjoyable while being interesting.

I also tried their Orange Ginger cookies and Chocolate Shortbread. Both are very yummy and worth checking out. They are a little pricey at $6 for a small container, so some of you might want to just go for the cupcakes.

Grade: A+

The Sweet Lobby is a must-visit if you're ever in Washington DC

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Savory Egg and Cheese Open Faced Sandwich

I bought a jar of Red Pepper Spread and I have to find a way to use it up. This was one of the ways.

It is a tasty way. I have more tasty ways coming up.

Ingredient list:

-1 slice of whole wheat or multi-grain bread (I used whole wheat Tuscan pane)
-Red pepper spread or any savory spread (like eggplant)
-1 poached egg
-Mascarpone cheese
-Sea salt

1) Toast the bread a little on the stove or in a toaster oven. Place it on a plate and let it cool.

2) Spread some cheese on it. Mascarpone melts very easily, so letting the bread cool is a good idea.

3) Spread some red pepper spread on top of the cheese. Place the poached egg in the middle and sprinkle on some sea salt.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Easy Broccoli & Kale Stirfry

Healthy and super easy to make, there's no need to resort to Lean Cuisine when you can whip up this quick veggie dish.

Ingredient list:

-1 cup of chopped kale
-1 cup of boiled broccoli (boiled just enough to soften it a little)
-2 bell peppers, sliced and chopped
-1 tsp of minced garlic
-1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
-1 medium onion, peeled and diced
-1/2 cup of chopped grape tomatoes
-Olive oil
-Sea salt

1) Pour a little olive oil into a pot, then turn on the flame. When it gets warm, add the garlic and onion and cook for 2 minutes.

2) Add the rest of the ingredients (but leave out the salt and red pepper). Cook for 15 minutes or until the kale wilts and the red pepper starts to soften.

3) When time is up, add the salt and red pepper.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mitsitam Cafe- Winter 2013 Menu

I got to check out the Winter 2013 selections at Mitsitam.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to try out as many dishes as I would have liked. They were out of Indian Bread Pudding (which was one of my first choices, and the place was getting crowded.

I decided to grab just a couple of things. I opted for the Brunswick Stew and a Pinenut and Rosemary Tart.

The Brunswick Stew contains venison, chicken, rabbit, corn, beans, carrot and a white corn Johnny cake.

It was pretty tasty. There wasn't much meat in my cup, but what I did taste was soft and not overcooked. The Johnny cake was a nice addition. It balanced the savory liquids in the stew and gave a nice bite.

The Pinenut Tart was a little lemony and had a custard-like filling.

Winter 2013 didn't disappoint me. I do wish I had more time to add a couple of other dishes. But I was happy, nonetheless. :)