Saturday, April 30, 2011

Boston, Part 2

On our last day in Boston, we were wondering around the city aimlessly enjoying the sites.  As we were walking around the famous Beacon Hill, I started to get hungry. Josh pulled out his fancy phone and found a couple places nearby that were rated well on Yelp.  The first place was super crowded, but luckily, the second place on the list was right next door.  That place was Figs.

My first impression of Figs was that it was super cute! There was seating for maybe 25 people and a wood-burning pizza oven in the back.  After we sat down at a table, I looked down at the menu and saw that Figs is actually a Tod English restaurant. All of a sudden I started geeking out since he's been a guest judge on just about every cooking competition show around!  Needless to say that if I was not excited to eat at Figs before that moment, I definitely was then.

So what Figs is famous for is their pizzas....but we didn't know that when we ordered. We thought that the panini would be the fastest thing to order since they are sandwiches.  Please note that if you ever visit this restaurant, the pizzas are WAY faster.  But I digress...

After we ordered the waiter brought out the most amazing bread and olive oil. It was so delicious that I almost wanted to say "Just keep the panini, I'll just eat the bread!" Of course I did not say that and waited patiently for my food.  Here's what I got:

A turkey panini on sourdough bread with rosemary french fries.  The quality of the sandwich was great, although the sandwich didn't blow me away.  What did blow me away was Josh's leek & potato soup:

I don't think I have ever tasted a potato leek soup that was so creamy and complex. I say complex because none of us could figure out that "mystery taste" in the soup that made it so delicious.  If the three of us could have gone back and done it again, we would have ordered the pizza, but most importantly, we would have definitely eaten at this restaurant!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Georgetown French Market

This Friday/Saturday is the 8th Annual Georgetown French Market on Wisconsin Avenue between P & Reservoir Road from 10 am - 5 pm.  Now, you may be thinking that this is not really a "foodie" event, but several restaurants will be offering discounted food along with those stores offering discounted goodies! In addition, from 12 to 4 on Saturday (in the TD Bank parking lot) there will be Balloon Sculptures & a Caricature Artist, Alliance Française de Washington featuring live music & special prizes, Signature French Market eco-friendly tote bags on sale for $2 to benefit the Friends of book hill library, and Lobster rolls on sale from Clyde's of Georgetown. 

Want to know what stores are participating? Check out this postcard on the Georgetown BID's website.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Boston Good Eats!

Sometimes a girl needs to hit the road and head to a change of venue! That is what happened a few weekends ago.  My friend's husband was running the Boston Marathon (Go Josh!!), so they invited me to come with them to keep her (Julie) company during the race. I have never been to Boston before, so of course I said yes!

Needless to say we ate our way around the city; which should be nothing less than expected from a foodie like me! The first place Julie declared we must eat at was Max Brenner's. She saw a "Best Thing I Ever Ate" episode on chocolate, and remembered that this restaurant was on the show. Not to be completely dependent on the Food Network's review, I agreed that we must try it!

Of course the first thing I had to order was a chocolate martini...this was a chocolate restaurant after all! I had the Mocha Madness, which is a mix of Kahlua, fresh brewed espresso, milk, and dark chocolate. (sorry for the quality of the was dark in the restaurant)  The martini was pretty pricey ($12), but this had to be the best quality chocolate martini I have ever tasted, so well worth the price!  It was not too sweet and allowed the dark chocolate to really be on display. Plus, any time you add espresso to chocolate, my tongue does a little happy dance!

After this drink I was excited for the rest of my chocolate adventure....

Since we were visiting the restaurant because of a Food Network show, we had to get what they said was the best!  This was the Chocolate Dessert Pizza with "The Works". This pizza was topped with "Max's double chocolate melting chunks", bananas, toasted marshmallows, and peanut butter.  Just as promised (though I usually never doubt the opinion of those at the Food Network), this pizza was the best chocolate pizza I have ever had!  All of us agreed that this was due to the quality of the chocolate, and the way it melted so beautifully in your mouth. If the quality had gone down just slightly it would have been like any other dessert pizza.

Our only complaint was the thickness of the pizza crust. I was happy that the crust was not sweet, which allowed us to really taste the chocolate's complexity. However, the crust was so thick that I felt like all I was chewing was crust. At some point I decided to eat just the toppings off, but they needed a crust to really bring balance to the textures. So although a thinner crust is necessary, the overall rating from the table was that we were blown away! 

This dessert pizza cost $17 with "the works", but you can also get a half pizza for half the price. We almost wished after attempted to eat all 4 slices that we had only gotten a half pizza; however as we enjoyed the last slice together at the airport on the way home, none of us complained!

So if you love great quality chocolate, you should check out Max Brenner's in Boston, or any of they're other locations around the US and the world! And be on the lookout for a few more posts on my Boston adventure...

Friday, April 22, 2011

How To: Hard-Boil Eggs

To preface this, I have to admit that my "recipe" for making perfect hard boiled eggs actually comes from Rachael Ray and is not my own magically discovered method.  However, every time I make boiled eggs this way, the yolk turn out perfectly yellow every time! Never again will you see a gray/slimy boiled egg.... Basically this is a guaranteed perfect boiled egg!!

As a young professional on a budget, eggs are a cheap way to add protein to my diet with little effort. You can add them to salads (like chicken or tuna niçoise), chop & mix them with mayo for a sandwich, or simply eat as is for breakfast on the go.

How to Boil an Egg:
  • Put cold eggs in a small saucepan and cover them with cool water.
  • Cover the pot.
  • Turn on heat to high and bring the water to a boil.
  • After the water comes to a rolling boil, turn off the heat and leave the pot covered for 10 minutes.  Do not move the pot from the stove eye it was on during heating!
  • After 10 minutes, gently drain the eggs (hold the lid on the pan and tilt over the sink to let water out) and run cold water over the eggs until they are cooled.
  • At this point you can peel the eggs or put them in the fridge for enjoying later!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

$1 Lunch?!

Yes, you read it right. Tomorrow LivingSocial (  is having $1 instant lunches all over DC! All you have to do is have their moble app on your iPhone or Android (sorry Blackbery), and select the instant deal you want.

I don't have either of these phones, but this app also works on your iPod touch.  I basically download the coupon to my iPod, then take my iPod with the confirmation screen with me to the venue. I can't get back on the internet at that point, but I can still get the deal!

Spread the word! $1 for lunch!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chocolate Cake Perfection

April is the month when apparently a lot of my friends were born....which means I've been pulled in to help with the party planning (even though I'm a meeting planner in 'real life' which is not like a party planner...but I digress).  To save money, I like to make my own cake and not pay for a pricy bakery.

To make the perfect cake, first grab a box of your favorite chocolate cake mix.  Ok, I know boxed cake mix does not sound very gourmet of me....and no, this has not turned into "Semi-Homemade with Jessica"...and yes, for most desserts I would firmly demand that you just make it from scratch. But for cakes, the box is basically the dry ingredients measured out for you.  What you add to it after that is really up to you!  So save the measuring time and just buy the mix.

To take your boxed mix to the next level, I am going to give you a secret family tip on how to make a chocolate cake even more chocolaty and rich.  Are you ready??? Add a box of chocolate pudding to the mix before adding the wet ingredients.  Yep, that's it.  Something about the pudding helps to keep the cake moist and prevents the dreaded crumbling cake syndrome.  Complete the cake according to the instructions on the box, and enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


To preface this, please let me mention that I am in no way I love Italian food? Yes. Do I enjoy cooking Italian food? Heck yes! So, with that said, I am now going to divulge my own lasagna recipe.  I use no-boil pasta....To which all my Italian friends gasp! But I have to say, if you make this the night before, the no-boil noodles taste as great as the boiling ones without all the hassle of noodles sticking together as they boil.

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1 large can of marinara sauce (or crushed tomatoes)
1 big handful of fresh basil, chopped
1/2 box Trader Joe's No-Boil Pasta
15 oz fat free ricotta
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt & pepper
2 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and garlic, and saute until the onions start to get translucent (3-4 minutes).

  • Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, egg, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a bow. Put aside for later.
  • Once the onions and garlic have softened, add your ground turkey and gently separate the meat with the back of a spoon and cook until the meat is no longer pink. (about 10 minutes)
  • Once the meat has cooked, add the can of tomatoes/marinara sauce and cook until warmed through or until your ready to assemble the lasagna. When you're ready to assemble, turn off the heat and add your chopped basil.
  • Set up a nice BIG work station with plenty of room to assemble your ingredients.  I like to use a large baking dish, but you can divide your lasagna if you want to give some away or freeze it in smaller portions.
  • And thus begins the layering process....Start with a few ladles of the sauce, then add a layer of noodles, then a layer of the cheese mixture, then noodles, then sauce, then cheese, then noodles, and so on.  I like to end with a sauce layer, while others like to end with a noodle layer. Whatever you like, that's what you should do! 
  • Top the whole thing off with as much shredded mozzarella cheese as you like.
  • Let the lasagna rest for at least a half an hour (for the sauce to really get into the noodles) or covered in the fridge overnight.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes (30 minutes covered with aluminum foil, the rest of the time uncovered) or until the top is nice and brown.
  • Sprinkle some extra basil on top for a nice presentation, let it rest for at least 5 minutes to cool, slice, and eat!