italian boy

italian boy

Thursday, April 29, 2010

HAPPY HOUR DC: Gazuza, Dupont Circle

A little on the pricy side but its clean, fun, hip, kinda chique and a nice space.  You can get sushi (half price at happy hour) small plates to pick, a shisha to smoke and fun cocktails to sip on.  Decent place for small to medium sized groups since there's a variety of table arrangements and cocktail service. Happy hours are Monday -Friday 5-7pm.  Rail drinks $4, selected bottles beer $3, wine $5 and martinis $6.  It can get crowded on popular night but ignore the douche bags and enjoy the music.  Again location is everything, you're near the metro, buses, plus plenty of other bars and restaurants so meet up here and head on over to your next place later on. Gazuza, 1629 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC Dupont Circle Metro, North Exit

READER CONTRIBUTION: quinoa, peppers and tofu

conversation with my buddy josh over IM:
josh: I am eating the best leftovers ever. I cooked a couple of diced onions down with some garlic, oil and salt and then added two diced bell peppers (yellow and orange) and cooked that down. Then when they looked awesome I moved them to a bowl, added more oil, another onion, garlic, and diced tofu and cooked that on high, stirring a lot. Then added the onions and garlic back to the pan after 7 or 10 minutes and stirred for a new more minutes. Then I tossed everything in a big bowl with three cups of an organic quinoa I had made. It's probably 3-4 dinners and it's so fresh and healthy. I think it gets better every day it sits in the fridge, too.
me: can you send me a photo?!
josh: There isn't much left. haha. I can send you a photo of the sad remains in the bottom of the bowl. haha
me:  YUM !!! looks amazing!

Monday, April 19, 2010

patatas bravas

Yeah, I know everything tastes better fried and you do too... so make sure you get to enjoy it every once in a while.  These are just cubed potatoes dropped in hot canola oil, fried till they're golden brown then sprinkled with sea salt and cracked pepper. Try and fry a hot pepper or two in the oil first to spice it up.  Serve them just like this as a side.  Kids love their bite-size. Toss them over a salad or into a beef stir fry.  Alternate them with mozarella, basil and tomatoes on skewers as an appetizer or leave a platter of them out with toothpicks and a fun aioli at a party.  Just be careful, they go a lot faster than you'd expect.

Friday, April 16, 2010

HAPPY HOUR DC: Mandu, Dupont Circle

I heart Mandu so much.  Fantastic Korean food.  Quiet fun neighborhood restaurant.  Outdoor seating. AWESOME staff.  Happy hour specials are every day 4-7pm  $4.00 Sojutinis $4.00 Liqour drinks $2.00 Beers $3.00 Mandu... Dinner there is slammin so you should experiment and there are plenty of other bars and restaurants within a few blocks if you're interested in another bite to eat or a cocktail.  Mandu Restaurant 1805 18th Street NW Dupont Circle. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

HAPPY HOUR DC: Current Sushi and Lounge

The old Dragonfly, Current sits on Connecticut Ave near the intersection of 18th Street.  Very chic, great sushi and cocktails. Awesome vibe so stick around after happy hour for some sweet music and dancing.  If the music isnt your hussle that evening then just walk outside to find half a dozen other clubs and lounges only steps away.  Happy hour Monday -Friday, 5-7pm.  Small plates are $3-5, sushi rolls and nigiri are $4.  $5 beers, martinis and cocktails and $6 wine. Current Sushi and Lounge 1215 Connecticut Avenue NW, Dupont Circle South.

Roasted chicken tacos

Lots of fun for an awesome brunch or small group but it takes a bit of time. Get your bird, give it a quick rinse and brine it for a few minutes at least in just warm water and salt. Arrange on a roasting rack in a large pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
On the bottom of the pan throw in a couple fingerling potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, or any other vegetable that you think might be yummy. Try asparagus, celery, or even sweet potatoes and apples.
Usually I like to stuff my chicken with an orange or lemon cut in half and a few cloves of garlic. Then I drizzle some olive oil over the top of the bird, salt pepper and thats it. If you like, find a Jamaican rub, or add celery salt or any other of your favorite spices- just dont go too crazy. And instead of tying the legs together (look at my photos), I make a slit in the skin flap on either side of the cavity then slip the end of each leg through the hole. 
This will seal the cavity tighter and I think is a littl emore fun when presenting.  I usually roast mine for 2-3 hours turning once or twice to make sure all sides get crispy.  You can tell the chicken is done when the meat easily lifts off the bone with a fork.  After its finished, let it cool and prepare some guacamole, roasted corn, get your tortillas out, make some salsa, fins cheese and sour cream and youre reade to go.  You can leave the cicken out for people to pick or pull all the meat in

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

READER CONTRIBUTION: gluten free mustard baked salmon with a black rice noodle salad.

From S. Al-Wasmi in Kuwait: Salmon, in the oven. Crust conisists of loads of fresh parmesan, whole grain mustard, a bit of mayo, lemon, paprika, and salt and pepper.
Black rice organic noodles, with tones of veggies. Dressing seaseme oil, soy sauce,garlic, ginger and spicy red paste.

Completely glutten free meal that will keep you light on your feet and takes no more the 25 minutes to make!
From me: Looks fantastic!  My mouth is watering. I love the citrus, mustard parmesan crust.

HAPPY HOUR DC: Wonderland Ballroom, Columbia Heights

Totally chill and neighborhoodie, come buy and sit in the beer garden or on thesidewalk at a small table.  Great discounted beers for happy hour, same with rail cocktails.  Grab a German bratwurst or choose from a variety of fun bar food.  Stick around for a more crowded atmophere and head upstairs later on for live music or dancing. Wonderland Ballroom 1101 Kenyon St, Columbia Heights

REVIEW: CommonWealth Gastropub, DC

ok, that's it, get ready cause I'm about to say it.  The best eggs benedict I've ever had. CommonWealth is just a fun place to eat or cocktail with a great menu, awesome beers and amazing concept.  Outdoor seating, indoor private room, sunday roast with sports games, I love it all.  Brunch comes with a free mimosa, pictured above is the egg-in-a-hole or
something like that, and then here we have my eggs benedict, on thick toast, slightly burnt, great hollandaise, and fantastic potatoes.
 Commonweath Gastropub, 1400 Irving St NW, Washington, DC‎ - (202) 265-1400‎  and don't forget, bring your recepit from Commonwealth to their older sister restaurant, Hanks Oyster Bar in Dupont and you get bottomless mimosas for brunch!!!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

HAPPY HOUR DC: Science Club, Golden Triangle

I cocktailed here for a little bit when it first opened.  Science Club is a pretty awesome place to hang out.  The space is great, they get great djs spinning, the crowd is awesome.  Food is creative and unique.  Nice management and great staff.  I love it there and is in a super convenient location if your office is near the Golden Triangle or if you plan to go out in lower Dupont afterwards.  Happy hour on Mondays lasts all night and goes from 5-8pm on Tuesday - Friday. HH prices are $3 and $4 beers, wine's at $5 a glass and $20 a bottle and $4 cocktails.  Check it out by yourself of with a group, you'll be sure to have a good time. Science Club, 1136 19th Street Northwest

Thursday, April 8, 2010

HAPPY HOUR DC: The Reef, Adams Morgan

This is one of my favorite places in all of DC.  Bottom floor is jungle themed with trees and fun music.  The next floor is filled with saltwater fishtanks and has great booths to sit eat and drink.  And the roof is fantastic, airy, tables to sit and much or plenty of space to stand.  Fantastic view, great beers and perfect spot for a margarita.  From their website, "We specialize in unique and interesting beers and we're more than happy to tell you all about them and let you sample a few too. Our kitchen keeps it real by cooking up some fantastic dishes with only the highest quality organic produce and free-range meats all provided by local farmers."  Look for rotating beer and drink specials and if you can prove you're an Adams Morgan resident (20009 area code) or fake it really well, you get a 10% discount.  The Reef, 2446 18th St in the Heart of Adams Morgan.

fennel orange and black olive salad

I think this is the best salad I've ever had.  My mom just made it over Easter and it was fantastic.  Thinly slice a bulb of fennel, add a chopped orange, a can of pitted black olives (quartered), juice from two lemons, extra virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper.  I really cannot describe how perfectly all those flavors marry but its amazing.

DRINK: spa water

I first discovered this at Trader Joe's a couple years ago and its the simplest thing.  If you're planning on having a pitcher of water on the table next time you have someone over, make it a spa water.  Spa water shouldn't be a juice, should not be sweet, really shouldn't even have much flavor- just a hint of fruit or herbs.  This pitcher here has a few slices of orange with some lemmon verbina my father had growing on the deck. Experiment with whatever you have, just try to keep it to one fruit and one herb.  Mint and apples.  Cucumber and basil.  Rosemary and strawberry.  Really almost anything tastes great.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

HAPPY HOUR DC: Rocket Bar, Chinatown

Awesome happy hour and even better with a group.  They've got pool, darts, boardgames, a bunch more activities that just seem more fun after a cocktail or two.  There are a bunch of TVs so expect it to be crowded if there's a game on.  $4 drafts, wine and rail cocktails.  Check out the website for upcoming events. Rocket Bar, 714 7th St.

Good find: Trader Joe's guacamole kit.

I love this and get one almost every time I'm in a Trader Joe's.  For about 5 bucks its cheaper to get this than to buy all the ingredients separately.  Two avocados, a tomato, lime, jalapeƱo, small onion and garlic.  I've gotten great quality produce every time and its great to take home for dinner, bring on a picnic or take with you when you're going to someone's house for dinner.  Avocados aren't always ready to eat so you MIGHT have to wait a day or 2 before they're fully ripe.  A fool proof fantastic guacamole.

Monday, April 5, 2010

HAPPY HOUR DC: The Heights, Columbia Heights

HAPPY HOUR DC:  The Heights, 3115 14th Street Northwest... Literally across the street from Target. The weather is fantastic these days. Run by The Heights, have a cocktail or beer outside on the patio, maybe a yummy bite and then still pass by Target as you stumble to the metro on your way home.  For $4.75 you can get a delicious Stoli Doli (maybe thats the name?  it sounds like that) a sangria cocktail and 2 other specialy cocktails plus discounted beer and drink prices.  EVERY DAY from 4-7pm including weekends. (For legal  bull, the above image awas not taken or produced by me and was taken from the establishment's website)


SO, by reader request, I will be posting a local DC happy hour daily that will feature a NEXT DAYs happy hour... so you can visit the site, see what to check out the same day or plan for tomorrow.  I'll try to set up a running calendar of happy hour schedules but that'll prob be in days to come... till then, CHEERS, KAMPAI, or ALLA SALUTE!

spinach, leeks and sesame seeds

So coincidentally I had a couple leeks and a bunch of spinach in the fridge.  I needed to figure out a way to use them up and holy &*%$ I think I did.  I don't think  I ever want to eat spinach another way.  I usually keep sesame seeds in my spice cabinet and tossed a small handful in a shallow pan with a touch of oil, two finely sliced shallots and a light sprinkle of salt.  I let that cook a bit to soften the leeks and toast the sesame seeds then I added my spinach (use fresh or frozen.  just use lots cause it cooks down more than you think) (about two prewashed bags worth).  Thats it.  As soon as the spinach cooks buts still aldente remove from heat and set aside till you're ready to serve.  This goes great with meats, can bridge between Asian and more Western meals, its totally vegan and absolutely delicious.

roasted [frozen] corn

I don't THINK I've blogged about roasted corn but either way, SOOO easy for a huge bonus.  Think a toping for taco night or a creative pizza, addition to a salad or a quick side. Grab a bag of frozen corn, throw it in a cookie sheet (do it over aluminum foil if you wanna skip the cleanup), drizzle some olive oil and a bit of salt and throw it in the broiler.  THATS IT.  You really need to watch and open the oven every minute or two to make sure some parts blacken but you don't want bits of charcoal.  Stir it a couple times and as soon as it looks like traditional grilled corn its done.  Mix with salsa, serve as is or use it as an addition from anything between a chicken wrap and a vegetable soup.

Friday, April 2, 2010

roasted potatoes with sweet hot peppers rosemary and garlic

Chop up some potatoes, coat with a bit of olive oil, salt and throw them in the oven on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 400.

About half way through, toss in pickled cherry peppers (you can find them in the Italian  section of most grocery stores or even the sweet hot ones you can find in olive bars), chopped rosemary, and garlic.  SO much better than plain roasted potatoes.  The unique combination of sweet, hot, and hearty flavors will go great with any other meat or vegetable dish.

REVIEW: Maddies, DC

So I have yet to eat a humane meal there but if you're looking for a late night snack after an evening on the town and about three thousand calories stop in Maddys, Dupont Circle (the old Timberlakes).  Alero up the road used to have my favorite nacho platter but now, hands down is the white cheese chicken[optional] nachos.. I don't know if its the melted white processed cheese (that would make any Frenchman cringe) or the pound of guacamole they throw on top but it is just so damn good.  Def enough for two people and I recommend with a side of Jack Daniels on the rocks. Cheers!

REVIEW: Pica Taco, DC

Possibly the most random location for a taqueria in DC, its in the bottom floor of the Argonne apartment building on 16 and Columbia (technically Columbia and Harvard).  My favorite tacos in the district and they're TWO DOLLARS.  Its clean, local, authentic, has indoor and outdoor seating, the green hot sauce is fantastic and their horchata is pretty off the chain.  I only wish it was open late so I could stumble by on my way home after a few cocktails in Adams Morgan.  Stop by cause you'll love it. Mon-Fri 6:30 am-8 pm, Sat 8 am-6 pm, Sun 8 am-5 pm

Good find: have you ever used one of these babies?

FANTASTIC.  If you only realize how easy it is to squeeze a lemon or lime it would be in in almost every dish you cook and every cocktail you drink.  These things are a cinch to use, dishwasher safe, and surprisingly efficient at extracting juice.  They come in orange, yellow and green for oranges, lemons and limes.  The yellow one is most vers so no use getting them all. They'll run you a little over 10 bucks at Bed Bath & Beyond or Target and makes a great gift for mom.  Happy squeezing.

TIP: ground beef

Its almost grilling season and I'm just sending out a quick reminder that when buying ground meat you should NOT always be picking up the cheapest deal in town (especially if you like a rare burger like I do).  Many stores are shipping in factory farmed meats from across the country with various fillers and enough containments it could make you go vegan if you read to much about it.  Try to look for labels that read "ground in house"  or at least specify no fillers.  I'm pretty sure some Giant and Harris Teeter grocery stores do.  I know Whole Foods does.  If its not in the cards for you either because of price or availability then just be sure not to undercook your meat (especially for the little kids), and a yummy tip is to season your hamburger meat  with some salt, pepper, your favorite spices, and vinegar or lime juice.  It tastes great, makes a gourmet burger, and the salt, spices and acidity added can kill some bacteria that might be hiding.

READER CONTRIBUTION: Dinner party plans?

Its Easter weekend!  Read my friend, interior designer, Paul Corrie's blog on great ideas for "what to bring" when you're headed to someone's place for dinner.

Click on the link below:

About Me

My photo
Hi there, my name is Giacomo and I enjoy things delicious. Long story short, my parents moved from Italy to NJ where I grew up (and loved it) but found myself in Washington, DC fourteen years ago and haven’t yet found an excuse to leave. Food has always been a huge part of my day and life… from happy times, sad times, holidays, drunken escapades and all the rest in between, I’ve usually spent a good portion of that time putting something in my mouth. I guess I started this blog a little while ago to keep track of what I was cooking and places I’d eat-- simply because my friends were always asking “how do you make this” or “where do you get that” but surprisingly over time I guess real people started reading too. SO, take a look around and let me know what you think. You’ll see that the backbone of lots of my food is Italian but I manage to cover most bases. Thanks for stopping by. BUON APPETITO!

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