Thursday, December 11, 2008


I have been stalking Posto since Viridian closed over six months ago and last Friday, they opened. We had to drive to NY that night but i made my boyfriend and our two friends dine here before we left. Obsessive? yes... but then again Tosca is in my top 5 (or maybe 1) restaurants in the city. In fact Tosca is the only restaurant where i am fully willing to drop $400 + and not miss it in the slightest.

So I'll be honest and say that I am absolutely biased in my optimism toward Posto. First our negative: the service was slow ... bread showed up after my (awesome) appetizer. There was still packing material under our table (which was a bit freaky to feel when you didn't expect it).

However... the slow server was incredibly friendly and honest in his nervousness. He didn't let me taste the 2nd bottle we opened, but for the price the bottle was Fantastic! You could see the manager (or owner?) bustling around... I was slightly sad nobody other than our server came over to see how we were... mostly because i hope to make this one of our regular haunts and i would love to get to know the management (we are young looking so I guess I can somewhat understand).

On to the important part - the food. We'll break this down into two categories. The pizza and the rest of the menu. I had a non-pizza meal and my three companions had pizzas.... my beef tartar was Amazing. I am pretty new to beef tarter ... the only other one i've had was minced .... this one was prepared in small cubes with a spicy vinaigrette and arugula. For my entree I had the tortelli with walnuts and spinach in a cream sauce. It was perfect... not to heavy but filing. Crunchy walnuts next to the soft spinach in sauce that i almost believe wasn't chalk full of butter.

Everyone else had pizza. All were great when the came out... the ones with ricotta got a little soggy .. i assume this is because it was homemade cheese - a nice touch. All three had great taste... the sausage one had a good amount of spice... .the margarita pizza had more sauce than normal but in my opinion that is a good thing.

We left full and happy and not even particularly embarrassed that we happened to break the first wine glass of the restaurant's history!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The "new boy" has become "the boyfriend" and what a great one he is turning out to be. Out of the blue he surprised me with tickets to the Eddie Vedder show at the Warner Theater. Oh, how well he has gotten to know me. I couldn't have been more excited until he suggested we go out to a nice dinner beforehand! Fireworks!

We went to 701 Restaurant. Its within walking distance to the Warner and while ive never heard rave reviews I felt like i needed to try something new (I was so close to picking Tosca again). Its one of those political reception joints that I've been to a million times but never actually dined at. I have always written it off as a somewhat old school place with typical food. What a pleasant surprise to be treated to a three course spectacle. This was during restaurant week so we took full advantage and topped it off with a nice bottle of wine.

We were there pretty early and got seated outside right next to the Navy Memorial. The people watching can be quite a distraction and there was a man who seemed to be taking photos of us ... or of our waiter who may be a serial killer on his off nights. Let me start by saying that there is a caviar selection on the menu. Not just roe on top of my innovative sushi selection - six caviar options ranging from $32 to $145! Also I learned that the roe are described as "berries"! Who knew.

The typically unadventurous boy (we're talking chicken parm at italian places even!) ordered the Tempura Ahi Roll even though his first taste of sushi EVER was this year. It was scrumptious and I ended up pretty much sharing it. I can't remember what i had as an app, so i guess it wasn't that incredible. I had salmon with this very understated but perfectly seasoned puree to top it off. It was a couple of weeks ago and my memory was dulled by a week at the Democratic Convention so i don't know what the boy had, but we were incredibly satisfied with the whole meal.

Eddie couldn't have been better either. (PS - neither of us had this desert but it looked so cool)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Home cooking

Having a job that requires travel always seemed so daring and exciting .. very jet setter meets professional girl. And in the tradition of "stuff white people like" I enjoy making others think I am well traveled and sophisticated.... Well naturally work travel is pretty mundane and tedious in the real world and even if you are dining out at fantastic restaurants (as I did this last trip) you are still eating. out. every. single. meal. of. every. single. day.

I returned home last Sunday (actually Monday morning after being re-routed through another city on another airline ... and then delayed by magical storms nobody could see or find on radar) and have never appreciated my own kitchen more. Every meal since has been created in house with groceries purchased at whole foods. You can tell when I'm craving fresh food when I buy everything at whole paycheck. The week's menu is below (the new boy thinks I am the most brilliant cook as well... fueling my fire)

Monday: Roasted chicken & vegi thin crust pizza
Tuesday: Run of the mill pasta & thrown together sauce (homemade... just nothing special)
Wednesday: Salad and salmon with a maple glaze and cous cous
Thursday: Fresh veggies with tomato and cracked pepper linguine. Fresh salad.
Friday - went out... the boy felt like rewarding all of my cooking, which is why we're keeping him around for a while.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Whitefish, Montana

My trip continues in Whitefish, Montana. We are about an hour from the Canadian border right at the base of Glacier National Park. I'm here for a political retreat (really, I do work occasionally) and have thoroughly enjoyed this little town. Montana is exactly as quiet, serene and beautiful as you imagine. 14 foot picture windows enclose the rustic lounge area in our Lodge and look out upon a pristine golf course that sits at the base of snow capped mountains. Note: come here with a date and not with your boss.

We arrived here a night early to avoid flying across the country half a million times between the Houston trip and this one so we have had time to acclimate and explore a bit. First night a few of us went o a restaurant called Tupelo Grill. Its described as Cajun although the menu features Thai noodles and chicken marsala on top of the expected jambalaya so who knows. I got a lobster and crab crusted halibut with a heavenly sauce. It was creamy and had a bit of a kick (ah, there is the Cajun). I think it came with a salad but to be honest I'm just not sure... I had a tiny bit too much wine (once again, my boss picked out a fantastic bottle. I'm telling you - traveling with wealthy people really is the way to go).

The second day brought with it the rest of the guests - welcomed additions for everyone I'm sure. Somehow we got 15 people into dinner at Pescado Blanca (original, eh... "white fish"), which is a "Montana Mexican Grill." It features things like Bison Enchaladas, Buffalo Tacos and the like. Feeling slightly adventurous, I went for Elk Chorizo Tacos (and by adventurous i mean had had a couple of beers and was being egged on by a few folks). "Tastes like chicken" isn't how i would describe it. Not my favorite type of meat - think well seasoned, overcooked ground beef. The chipolte creamy sauce on my tacos made everything better and the locally grown fresh arugula really brought it together nicely. It was a great Montana experience and yet another first for me this trip!

Tonight we dine outdoors at a ranch ... its pouring and very cold so I assume we'll be in a tent. Also - there will be a cowboy poet! yee haw.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Mark's in Houston

Traveling for work doesn't bother me too much. Hotel rooms are like mini decorating projects to be tackled anew in each city; exploring foreign cities - just curious peaks into the lives of a different set of people. This trip I am anxious to get home to a new interest but Houston defied my expectations - especially when it came to food (pan to me being torn between my meal and texting the new guy under the table).

Did you know Houston is the 3rd largest city in terms of population in the US? (im not sure how it couldn't be considering the sheer size of this place... there are TWO beltways! One inside the other!). Another fun fact about Houston - there are no zoning laws, which means that near my hotel (a nice one) you can see Neiman Marcus, Saks, two (yes two) starbucks and an adult video store called "HOT ZONE" complete with neon lights. It is perfectly normal here to see a sleezy looking "gentleman's club" next to Fogo de Chow and the Palm.

Well, I am traveling with my boss so I have spent exactly $0 so far (fantastic boss). For whatever reason he has left all of the logistics to me ... including picking a restaurant the other night. Suggestions solicited and googled and we landed at Mark's American cuisine. When you talk to Houstonians say its the one in an old church. They'll know.

I should start out by saying that this place will forever hold significance to me as the first place I have ever tried Kobe beef. They were offering Japanese kobe beef for an absurd price... the special sounded fabulous right up until he said the price and my heart fell (should have known better...) but my boss - out of nowhere - ordered a few ounces as an appetizer for the table. MMMMM try this NOW is all i can say. Make up a reason to celebrate and splurge because it is worth it.

We then proceeded to have a feast. I had a local tomato and mozzarella salad with balsamic reduction dressing, a tenderloin with porcini mushrooms and tomato basil risotto that was so flavorful I was literally taken aback. Talk about the freshest ingredients you can find. Despite being stuffed, desert came and somehow a vanilla bean creme brulee appeared in front of me. I wish it had a more crusty top but the flavor can't be argued with. Everything was just scrumptious (love this word).

The decor is actually lacking... the old church thing is very cool - see the vaulted ceiling. But they have FAKE flowers. Who does this to a restaurant where dropping over $500 on dinner isn't a stretch? The one very cool thing is that the wine "cellar" is actually up where you would normally see organ pipes. This is my type of sanctuary.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Restorante Tosca

Growing up I probably ate pasta for at least one meal a day, without exception. I wouldn't eat meat and my mother eventually threw up her hands and told me that she was no longer going to make me special meals. So I learned how to make a whole variety of pasta and sauces.

Fast forward 10-15 years and pasta is still by far my favorite things to eat. So when there was an excuse to have a decadent dinner last week, I choose Restaurante Tosca.

About 4 years ago a co-worker and I tried Tosca during restaurant week and adored every minute of the meal. We barely spoke but plenty of "mmm's" were overheard I'm sure. So when my foodie oriented ex came to town to visit I decided i had to return. One of the reasons we did so well together was because food was a shared priority. Money was not an issue when it came to food. We both traveled for our jobs and spent most of our relationship in hotel rooms around the country (and the world) and everywhere we went we were very well fed. I literally remember the places we visited by my favorite dishes ... deep fried goat cheese mac 'n cheese in Memphis (i am STILL trying to track down this recipe 3 years later), spiced shrimp in Little Rock, spaghetti with meat sauce in Beijing (not even kidding). Anyways, together we always ate well and spared no expense when it came to food and wine.

So to Tosca we went. I don't think even we have spent that much money and eaten so much food as we did last week. We ended up having two very nice bottles of wine and definitely too much food... but every bite and sip was fantastic. We both insisted that we couldn't share the goat cheese and arugula salad so we both had that ... and it was worth getting our own! We then decided to order a feast ... he would get the lamb shank and a side pasta while I would get the tasting menu featuring a veal ravioli and a rib eye steak. It was a disturbing amount of food. The veal ravioli was fantastic - much lighter than i expected for a creamy dish. The smoky tones from the prosciutto added a really wonderful warm feeling. The rib eye was good - i usually order a fillet or something more girly than the big slab of meat that I got. I finished about half of it before I had to cry uncle. The steak wasn't something i would order again but the lamb fell right off the bone and the sauce was rich and so savory ... I can't even remember what pasta he ordered but all of their pastas are to die for. The best part is that you can order any pasta as an appetizer for a pared down portion and a pared down price.

If you have a few hundred dollars to throw at a restaurant - I highly recommend Tosca. I have heard they also have a $35 pre-theater menu and you could probably pretty easily get away with ordering about half the food we did (and maybe half the wine... although really, who are we kidding).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And we're back

Yet another campaign has come to an end and yet again I am enjoying some free (unemployed) time. Its so great for about a week but then the boredom sets in and you create errands like driving out to Virginia in the middle of the day to buy a Scrabble board. By the way Facebook Scrabble is by far one of the greatest creations of the last year.

So this morning I decided to pull out the slow cooker. I have a pretty small one with only one temperature (note to self - buy better slow cooker) ... which i normally only use for this Chocolate Spoon Cake (the recipe is also below because it is SO DAMN GOOD) but today I needed to cook a bunch of chicken and various other veggies. So I decided to try Chicken Cacciatore in the crock pot.

While this was the easiest chicken dish i've made in about a year... it wasn't the greatest thing ever to come from my kitchen. I used breasts instead of thighs which was not the correct move and the chicken- which was swimming in a great tomato sauce - was still dry. I'd say use thighs and brown them first. other than that it tastes just like a chicken cacciatore that i'd make on the stove and I was able to go buy Scrabble at target while it was cooking so score all around.

Ingredients - i used about half of everything listed here because of the size of my slow cooker.
1 medium yellow onion, cut into half rings
1 jar marinara sauce (or use homemade)
1 bell pepper - chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of mushrooms - chopped
1 pound chicken thighs
Basil, oregano, rosemary and red pepper flakes - to your liking

Layer half of the marinara sauce in the pot and place onion, pepper and garlic on top. Sprinkle mushrooms on top of that and then add the chicken. Add in the italian spices you like and then top it all off with the rest of the marinara sauce. Turn the puppy on and let it cook. If you have a varied speed crock pot cook it for 5-6 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.

If you like a thicker sauce: Once the chicken is finished remove it from the sauce and then add 2 teaspoons of flower, 2 tablespoons of dry white wine and 2 tablespoons of water and cook on high for another 15-20 minutes or until you like the consistency.

I served mine over large shells but it really doesn't even really need a pasta or rice if you don't feel like it.

I'll post the Chocolate Spoon Cake recipe tomorrow... its late and I plan to go dream about it first.