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Archive for October, 2008

Birmingham eats

October 31, 2008 Leave a comment

So I’m in Birmingham, AL for a business meeting and just happened upon a BBQ restaurant that’s “pretty darn good”: Jim n Nicks in the Five Points neighborhood. (Sorry, I had to use to use a popular phrase from vice-presidential candidate, Palin. I must have the election on the brain.)

At Jim n Nicks, I sampled the BBQ platter: chicken, beef brisket, baby back ribs and pork sausage links. This platter came with 2 trimmings (sides): mac and cheese and collard greens. And of course, you can’t have all of this without a sweet tea or lemonade so I killed two birds with one stone by ordering an Arnold Palmer. The bbq meats were all tender and oh so succulent. My favorite was probably the bbq chicken breast. The collard greens and mac and cheese were pretty good but I’ve had better and worse. My drink however was very unique and quite delicious although I don’t know if it was specifically the iced tea or the lemonade that was spectacular because it was mixed. In the future, I’d probably order one drink and then the other, just to sample them separately. If you’re ever in the Birmingham area, this is a must-eat-at restaurant! I’d rate this restaurant a 3.5 out of 5. Ambiance, service and food were all great.

Murky coffee * Arlington, VA

October 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Tonight I had the pleasure of visiting a cafe that I frequented while working in the Eastern Market area: Murky Coffee. (Actually, I’m sitting in the cafe right now typing Murky’s review on my blog!)

No longer in the same location, Murky has moved to Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, VA. The new location is pretty nice, definitely twice the size it was before, with a more urban, rundown sort of feel to it which actually fits Murky’s image better than the old place did. It feels almost like a different cafe.

But after sampling the coffee, I’d say it’s still the same Murky. The quality’s still there. Sometimes no change is good too! I had hoped to purchase a specific coffee bean from the cafe but they were carrying limited kinds of beans, such as the usual espresso toscano, santa ana el salvador, and others. All of which are pretty good, but I really loved this one bean they carry every now and then. Oh well, maybe next time.

On this particular Thursday evening, I’m just sitting back and observing what’s going on. The ambiance is laidback and casual, just the way a good cafe should be. People are here working on their laptops or talking with their roommates, friends or partners. Some arrived here on foot, others (like myself) drove here. I wonder if any of those in the latter category ventured here from DC in search of their old Eastern Market haunt. I wouldn’t be surprised.

So you guessed it: Murky rates pretty high in my book because their coffee is pretty “damn” good, there I said it (haha, a direct quote from Murky’s tagline). I’d give them a 4 of 5. When I worked in Eastern Market, there were several choices of cafes: Starbucks (or as my husband likes to call them, Charbucks), Java Cafe, a Belgian sandwich place that brewed European coffees, Bread and Chocolate, Marvelous Market that brewed Mayorga coffees and Dunkin Donuts (ick). At the top of my list of go to cafes is Murky.

Now, I’ve heard that there are alot of other good cafes out there, such as Greenberry’s. I’ve tested Greenberry’s coffee at the cafe out in the McLean, VA area and maybe I need to sample their other coffee drinks to get a better idea of how good their coffee is. I thought the coffee was good but not quite Murky good. The other thing was that Greenberry’s cafe feels alot like a Starbucks and I prefer the rundown feel of a neighborhood cafe.

If you know of any, please comment on my blog and let me know where I need to go. I would love to make it out to those other good cafes in the metro DC area!

DC Improv and Julia’s Empanadas

October 30, 2008 Leave a comment

For a night of laughs, a couple of us went to see Robert Schimmel at the DC Improv Club. The dinner show was scheduled for 8:30p. We ordered bar foods such as chicken strips, nachos, quesadillas, cocktails, beers and a cranberry juice (this last one was my drink). The food was nothing to write home about but the show was pretty funny. Schimmel joked alot about his personal life, focusing alot on his sex life. At one point towards the end of the show, his act got serious; this happened when he talked about his battle with cancer.

After the show, we walked over to Julia’s Empanada where they make and sell jumbo meat and fruit empanadas. My husband knows of the infamous Julia’s from his clubbing days and has hit this place many times after the club to grab some empanadas as a late night snack. This night, I ordered the chilean (ground beef, olives, bell pepper, and hard-boiled egg) and he ordered the saltena (chicken, peas, peppers, although don’t quote me on the exact ingredients because I didn’t pay much attention to his empanada).

A note about Julia’s is that there’s no seating so you just make your purchase and head out. We actually ate our empanadas on the way back to our car. Both were delicious. Another note is to be prepared to spend at least $4 per empanada although Julia’s does offer specials, for example, you can get a meat empanada, a fruit empanada and a drink for under $10. Also, the restaurant accepts only cash, but conveniently has an ATM located inside the store.

Overall, this was a good night out in DC. Julia’s Empanada rates a 3.5 out of 5 in my book (the taste is great but the restaurant’s presentation and lack of seating were not so great). The only other place where I’ve had better empanadas was South America. Delicious, freshly made empanadas and other pastries were sold in a cafe setting where you actually sit down and enjoy your empanada with rich Spanish coffee. That’s my benchmark for comparing all other empanadas.

Baby poll

October 29, 2008 Leave a comment

Since my husband and I threw out the idea of organizing a competitive pool on the baby’s gender, I decided to put a poll up on the blog just to get an idea of what folks really think. Let’s see who gets it right in January.

And here’s the poll for the baby’s due date.

Categories: Motherhood, People Tags: , , ,

Shout outs

October 29, 2008 Leave a comment

My 3 sisters and sister-in-law threw me an amazing baby shower recently and I wanted to send them a public shout out.

Thanks girls! You’re the best sisters ever. The food was great, of course. We had banh chow, spring rolls, chicken wings, and exotic asian fruits for dessert.

Thanks also to my very best friends (from childhood and now in womanhood) and my cousins whom I would do anything for.

You all probably already received the cheesy thank you notes I sent but I thought I needed to say it again. I love you all!

Categories: Food, Motherhood, People Tags: , , ,

Pregnancy pictures

October 28, 2008 Leave a comment

Alot of my posts have been about food. Maybe it’s because my belly is such a big focus in my life right now.

Since some folks have asked for photos, here are a few, captured weeks ago by my husband.

Currently, I’m 28 weeks along in the pregnancy. The due date is January 18th but I’m secretly hoping for a New Year’s Eve baby (I’ll be considered full term by then). My husband and I are keeping the baby’s gender a surprise. We want to hear the doctor say: “It’s a…” boy/girl, just like in the olden days.

Because we’re getting so much feedback from family, friends and strangers, we’re seriously thinking about starting a competitive pool for the baby’s gender and date of birth. Even the homeless person who hangs out by my office had an opinion: he thinks the baby will be a boy.

Favorite recipe websites

October 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Thanksgiving is coming up and this year, my husband and I (although I think it will mostly be me) are making dinner! To prevent me from going into full panic mode, I am looking up recipes for the turkey, side dishes and dessert that have been tested, tried and rated high among fellow foodies.

Some great recipes websites I have found so far are:

1. allrecipes.com: the recipes have so many reviewers

2. chowhound.com: I just signed up as a member and enjoy the recipes, restaurant reviews, blogs and forums

3. gourmet.com

4. williamssonoma.com

5. americastestkitchen.com and cooksillustrated.com (although a couple of recipes are available, most need to be accessed through an online subscription)

If you know of any other websites, please comment and add them to my growing list of recipe resources.

Categories: Food, Recipes Tags: , , ,