Entries Tagged as 'brunch'

Fave Bougie Burgers in DC: Duke’s Grocery

0

06.3.15

the right proper burger // duke's grocery in washington, dc

The first time I heard about this burger, I was guarding Emily’s bike outside of the Safeway on 17th Street, last summer. She had forgotten her lock, and it was one of those unexpectedly warm days of September, after a cold spell. Emily inherited Joanne, a big cruiser bike — and Joanne has some big hips on her frame. Not judging — but we parked her next to a pretty nice 80s-ish road bike… the kind that super attractive hipsters who live in Bloomingdale ride. I was secretly wishing I had Barbie, my own 80s racing bike that was resting in my bedroom just a block away. You know, because when your imagination runs off, it sprints — to having a conversation with a handsome stranger about each other’s bikes, which would obviously lead to a long and happy life together. Or maybe a few weeks. Dating in real life seems so far fetched these days, but stranger things have happened to me.

Sure enough, while Emily was shopping, a super attractive hipster man with a super attractive beard strolled out of Safeway, and struck up a conversation with me about the weather and this wonderful, super attractive day. Somehow, we got on the topic of best burgers in DC — his idea, not mine. I was still starstruck by the fact that he wanted to talk to me.

His plan was to have a leisurely, breezy bike ride to Duke’s Grocery from Bloomingdale (I was right!), but the summer heat had him sweating bullets. Or maybe it was my California cool attitude. Anyway, at the time, I was very loyal to Le Diplomate’s burger… but mystery man stood by the burger at Duke’s Grocery.

So naturally, the next weekend, Shaeda and I had to swing by to see what all the fuss was about. And oh, what a fuss.

I’ll preface this entire story by the fact that we went to Duke’s Grocery on a rainy Saturday morning, and had to go again 24 hours later. No joke. The burger was that good.

the right proper burger // duke's grocery in washington, dc

We started with the Pimm’s Cups, which is my favorite light-hearted cocktail at any hour of the day. Duke’s Grocery is bright and airy inside, with an industrial Edison bulb chandelier. There’s an upstairs, but we managed to snag a couple of arm chairs on the first floor.

The burger is perfect, really. Pictured is the Brunchy burger — the menu changes regularly, but there’s always an epic burger variation on there — a double patty topped with edam cheese, house pickles, charred red onion, mayo, and arugula. We added a fried egg, because… obviously.

the right proper burger // duke's grocery in washington, dc

the right proper burger // duke's grocery in washington, dc

If you make it there on a weekend during brunch hours, be prepared to wait for your table, and to wait for your burger. It’s a tiny kitchen, and they get backed up with orders. But have a few drinks, and know that it’s worth it.

Duke’s Grocery
1513 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

 

Breakfast Sliders, Three Ways

0

27.6.14

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

Yes, because this happened.

Breakfast sandwiches are my undoing. My. Undoing.

They also happen to be one of the easiest things to throw together if you’re hosting a big brunch. Why put together a giant, meticulous meal if you all drank a little too much the night before and all you need is a hangover cure? Hold the grease.

One of my biggest qualms with the breakfast sausage they sell at my Safeway is that the patties are a little too small for a normal English muffin. So this time, I figured, you know? Why not cut biscuits and eggs to fit the sausage perfectly? And that is how the breakfast sandwich sliders were born. I’d recommend prepping all of the ingredients first, and setting up a breakfast sandwich slider bar — with the bases, proteins, and toppings all there for everyone to make on their own.

That’s what we did, anyway :)

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

From left to right:

{ the classic }
biscuit, scrambled egg, sausage, cheddar

{ onion jack }
biscuit, scrambled egg, sausage, pepper jack, caramelized onions

{ the california }
biscuit, scrambled egg, sausage, spicy tomato mayo, avocado

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

breakfast sliders, three ways // sweetsonian

Breakfast Sandwich Sliders, recipe after the jump (more…)

Pepper Jack Breakfast Bake, and a Giveaway!

11

12.3.14

pepper jack breakfast bake // sweetsonian

Hi friends — so today, in addition to setting you up with a great brunch recipe, I’m here to tell you about a pretty awesome local production called the Baltimore Rock Opera Society (BROS, for short).

If you’ve been reading a while, you probably already know about my love affair with all things Baltimore… mostly because of its hip, grungy art community, and my attachment to the art school I almost went to up there. Let’s be real — my heart aches every time I get an email from MICA. But maybe… someday, I’ll go back to school for my MFA.

Anyway.

A close friend got involved with BROS last year, putting on some pretty amazing performances. I was lucky enough to catch a round-up performance of last year’s show at Artscape, Baltimore’s huge, amazing, humid art festival. The Natty Bo was flowing. 

pepper jack breakfast bake // sweetsonian

pepper jack breakfast bake // sweetsonian

This year, the BROS are performing Grundlehammer — the description is here:

Gründlehämmer takes place in the land of Brotopia: a once-prosperous kingdom where the power of music can make crops grow, heal the sick, or smite an enemy. For 30 years Brotopia flourished and prospered – but a shadow has fallen across the land, cast by a tyrannical Dark King Lothario and an immortal cave-dwelling monster of unspeakable evil: the Gründle.

Something that I find particularly fascinating about the BROS is that, for the most part, every person that participates in these production, like myself and probably most of you, has a day job doing something completely different. I wouldn’t have realized this if a friend hadn’t mentioned this to me at the Artscape performance. I was pretty blown back by the talent, so I highly recommend trying to catch a show.

That being said, the BROS have teamed up with Thread Coffee in Baltimore and Yours Truly to sponsor a giveaway for two tickets to this year’s Gründlehämmer show — the tour is based in Baltimore, but they’re traveling to both Alexandria, VA, and Philly, PA for additional shows. In addition, the winner will get one bag of the BROS Blend coffee from Thread Coffee in Baltimore, MD.

Sounds great, right? There are a few ways to win — first, you MUST leave a comment below telling us which city you’d like to see the show in! Then, for extra entries, you can Tweet about the giveaway, like BROS on Facebook, or like Sweetsonian on Facebook. Each item will give you an extra entry in the giveaway. BUT — you have to do the additional pieces through Rafflecopter. If you don’t, it won’t count in the raffle! The contest ends at midnight this Friday, March 15.

Anyway, good luck! And check out the delicious BROS breakfast bake recipe below (Sweetsonian-ified, of course, for simplicity).

Also, I almost forgot — check out show dates and locations here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Recipe after the jump! (more…)

Sun-Dried tomato and Jalapeño cheddar biscuits

1

06.3.14

sun-dried tomato jalapeno biscuits

Tuesday night, I found myself in a much-needed yoga class.

The past couple of weeks have been unconditionally brutal. You know those days where you literally have every single minute planned? Yeah. Try that for ten days straight. It makes my bones ache. And it takes me at least a few days to get back to normal, because stress is just something that I can’t handle these days. I was covering ARPA-E as a photographer (hellooooo, government nerd fest), gave a presentation to a design group in DC with some coworkers about why Energy.gov is awesome, and even ventured out to Vienna, Virginia, to see a friend of a friend of a friend perform, who happens to be an amazing singer/songwriter.

In high school and college, I thrived on stress. I needed to overload myself in order to get things done. I also used to drink so many vodka-red-bulls that I probably should have had a heart attack by junior year. But now, just the thought of having plans every night of the week makes me cringe. Even this last weekend — I could say it was relaxing, because I spent most of it snuggled up in bed or petting puppies tied up outside of Chipotle, but it was a weekend that had every living moment planned. There was no sudoku in bed, or impromptu Netflix wormholes, or hours with a book on the Java House patio. Lots of fun, but it still felt busy.

So finally, after what seemed like 4247895 days of straight-up booked calendar entries, I made it to the gym. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to schedule yoga. I savor my workouts as something I opt to do in the time that I have for myself — and no one else. So finally, this week, I refused to pencil anything in. I went to yoga — a time slot and an instructor I had never been to before.

I set up my mat, and relaxed for a few minutes. And… ten minutes into the class, the teacher was still missing.

I’m sure the other 20 people in the class had varying levels of stress from their days and the week before, so when our gym manager came down to apologize, it was clear that the instructor wasn’t coming. But the most amazing thing happened — a woman sitting in the front row promised that she was a certified yoga instructor, and volunteered to teach the class.

Naturally, a room full of yogis is probably the most laid-back group of people ever, so almost everyone exclaimed something to the effect of “that would be AMAZING,” and that was that. And she led a class that I’m sure everyone enjoyed, and she started the class by asking us to practice forgiveness, because she hadn’t instructed yoga in over a year and a half.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how amazing that experience was — the personalities, and the yoga itself. Anyway, please forgive me for the radio silence. It’s been a long few weeks. Treat yourself with some easy biscuits (side note, these would be GREAT on a breakfast sandwich).

sun-dried tomato jalapeno biscuits

sun-dried tomato jalapeno biscuits

Sun-dried Tomato & Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 fresh jalapeños
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  2. First, remove and discard the seeds from your jalapeños. Dice them finely, into about eighth-inch pieces. Combine them with the diced sun-dried tomatoes, and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the Bisquick, milk, and cheese — mix with the dough hook until everything is fully incorporated. Then, add in the jalapeños and tomatoes. When mixed, remove the dough from your mixer, and using your hands, form into a large, flat mound about an inch to an inch-and-a-half thick. Cut out biscuits with a biscuit cutter or some sort of jar — I used a 3-inch biscuit cutter.
  4. Then, melt your butter in the microwave, and stir in the garlic powder. Use a pastry brush or a spoon to dress the biscuits with a generous layer of butter.
  5. Bake for about 13 minutes, until the biscuits are a light golden brown.Makes 7 to 8 large biscuits.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Spinach Squares

2

06.11.13

spinach squares // sweetsonian

Yesterday was — well, I’m pretty darn sure — the best day of my life. A coworker hooked me up with one of the much-coveted White House tour tickets. Being the first day the White House has reopened its tours since sequestration’s budget cuts took place back in January. So it was a pretty exciting day, for anyone who was able to finally get a tour, and for the people who work at the White House.

We were held up in the East Room for what felt like forever when a friend commented on one of my Instagrams about POTUS and FLOTUS surprising everyone on the tours, so as you can imagine, my heart started racing. What would I say? Was it true? Would they still be there?

spinach squares // sweetsonian

spinach squares // sweetsonian

 

The secret service closed the doors to the Green room right when we were about to go through, which put us in front of the line for the next group. And once the doors reopened and we were shuffled through, I was greeted by none other than Michelle Obama herself, in all of her glowing glory. That woman is pretty in photos, but hot damn, she is 43290423 times prettier in person.

Anyway, being from Los Angeles, I’ve met my fair share of celebrities, but Michelle takes the cake.

I. Was. Starstruck. Especially when she greeted us with a big smile and a “HIIII! Welcome to my house!” Cue Sunny jumping all over her and my coworker. I, naturally, beelined to Bo, who was sitting a few feet away, simply panting and rolling his eyes at Sunny, who was literally leaping and bounding from the visitors, to the First Lady, to the people behind the cameras. I pet Bo for as long as I could, which was apparently too long, because Secret Service basically escorted me out.

My heart was racing for at least 30 minutes after that. Marissa and I proceeded to jump up and down and scream on the White House driveway.

Seriously, best day of my life, and those dogs are the fluffiest dogs in the world. So. Effing. Cute.

spinach squares // sweetsonian

spinach squares // sweetsonian

spinach squares // sweetsonian

This recipe comes from a friend and owner of yet another unbelievably adorable Portuguese water dog — Ollie. Maybe someday, Michelle will read this and schedule a play date for Ollie and Sunny. They’d make a darling couple.

Spinach squares, after the jump.

(more…)

Asparagus, Red Pepper and Sweet Corn Quiche

0

01.11.13

asparagus, red pepper and sweet corn quiche // sweetsonian

Well, fall is just flyin’ by, isn’t it?

The National Mall is dotted with shades of yellow and orange, and I couldn’t ask for a more beautiful season to end a particularly stressful week. One upside is that the pumpkin I carved after work with the @Energy digital team made it onto Politico, Science Mag, and the Huffington Post — how cool is that? Huffpo called it “the best Jack-O-Lantern they’ve ever seen.”

*Swoon*

asparagus, red pepper and sweet corn quiche // sweetsonian

fall in dc // sweetsonian

fall in dc // sweetsonian

fall in dc // sweetsonian

Anyway, aside from finally achieving Jack-O-Lantern fame, the week’s been filled with infographics, meetings, and my newly reinstated fitness routine, which I’ve been working 2-3 days of yoga into.

Yesterday was Halloween, and I got the chance to walk around the National Mall for a bit with a camera (I was photographing a coworker, dressed as Amelia Earheart, at the Earheart exhibit in the National Air and Space Museum. It was amazing).

The colors in the leaves just happened to match the warm colors in the tart perfectly, so I thought I’d share that with you. Yesterday was a gloomy day, but the leaves — and Jack-O-Lantern fame — easily brightened up my afternoon.

Emily describes me as being on a perpetual diet. Let’s just talk about how I started Monday off with three delicious cookies for breakfast. My neighbor made them. They were amazing, and I do not regret it.

fall in dc // sweetsonian

asparagus, red pepper and sweet corn quiche // sweetsonian

fall in dc // sweetsonian

asparagus, red pepper and sweet corn quiche // sweetsonian

asparagus, red pepper and sweet corn quiche // sweetsonian

asparagus, red pepper and sweet corn quiche // sweetsonian

asparagus, red pepper and sweet corn quiche // sweetsonian

asparagus, red pepper and sweet corn quiche // sweetsonian

asparagus, red pepper and sweet corn quiche // sweetsonian

 Asparagus, Red Pepper and Sweet Corn Quiche (recipe after the jump) (more…)

Pumpkin Tea Cake

2

29.10.13

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

There’s a somberness that comes with the end of summer and beginning of fall. The air is drier, there sun is lower, and the sky feels a little bluer. Maybe it’s because the wind is a little colder.

But with every changing season, I reflect on the past few months — for me, summer was exhilarating. I was jet setting between California and New York and spotted through Europe (can I go back please?). The day job and the freelance clients have all been pretty amazing lately, so it’s safe to say I’m in a good spot.

I spent a couple of hours on Kristen’s floor with Winston last night, drinking wine and catching up after a busy day of work and biking all over DC. I’ve actually had a couple of anxiety filled days, mostly coping with the realization that no one is happy all of the time. It’s painful, to see people you care about struggling. Whether you’ve been in their shoes or not, it hurts. We meowed with Winston, told stories about how we’re too old to be drinking as much as we do, and chatted about the ups and downs, the balancing act of good times and bad times in our circles of friends.

A few of our close friends are going through some rough transitions in life, and I’ve been trying to figure out how the best ways to help them. Most of the time, I just want to rescue the people I love, take a few days off work and sit them down in my living room while I blast music and bake up a storm. Or fly to wherever they are and do the same in their own kitchen. It’s the company that matters; the location is usually meaningless.

Long story short, if you’re reading this, you know who you are. I love you, and this pumpkin tea cake is for you.

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

Pumpkin Tea Cake, derived from the Tartine Cookbook

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup + 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line one 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (or three mini loaf pans) with parchment paper, and brush with oil or rub with butter.

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together. Set aside.

In your stand mixer, beat together the pumpkin puree, oil, sugar, and salt on medium speed, until well-mixed. Add each egg, one at a time, fully incorporating before adding the next. Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed, beating until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, and then beat on medium speed for 10 seconds to make a smooth batter.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan (or pans) and smooth the surface with your spatula. Bake until the centers are set and a toothpick comes out clean — the time will depend on your oven, but it should take about 1 hour.

Serve the cake at room temperature. It keeps well if wrapped in saran wrap, but it won’t last long.

Fall Favorites

0

17.9.13

With the weather cooling down, I’m getting the urge to snuggle into one of the big wool sweaters I purchased in Bergen. Nothing beats sweater and boot weather. So cuddle up, hunker down, pour a glass of wine, and check out some of my favorite fall recipes.

fall faves-01

bacon fat gingersnaps // grown-up ramen // roasted beets, goat cheese & pistachio
roasted crusted squash // tomato basil soup // pumpkin swirl coffee cake
apple, cheddar & caramelized onion tart // almond honey granola // fig and brown sugar ice cream

 

Cardamom Pound Cake

14

28.8.13

DSC_0879

Cardamom is a spice that you don’t come across too much in American cooking. I never really knew what it was until I was 19, wide-eyed and living in Tanzania for the summer — it was the main ingredient in a selection of teas and desserts, occasionally, in one of the rice dishes we had. Thinking back, there are a lot of things I wish I could change about that trip, but mostly myself: how I viewed life, how I acted back then. I’m sure we all have those moments (days, weeks, months).

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Just the taste of cardamom reminds me of how much we can change in just seven years. Back then, I was on a mission to prove my dedication to international development, and to prove to my parents that I didn’t need to listen to every piece of advice they scolded my way.

I deserved the scolding. I was an asshole back then (oh man, I hope-hope-hope I’m not nearly as much of an asshole now).

But no matter how broke I was because of that trip, I wouldn’t take it back for the world.

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I lived with a handful of other volunteer teachers in a house near Bahari Beach, just outside of Dar es Salaam. There were a few women who lived in the house that also cooked for us and taught us bits and pieces of Swahili — which I used to be alright at — but honestly, the memory that sticks with me more than anything is the scent and the taste of the cardamom-infused chai tea that greeted me every morning.

They mixed the tea from scratch, and boiled water in huge vats — water that was used throughout the day for cooking, laundering, and other methods of cleaning. The tea was strained directly into a giant, baby pink thermos, and had enough tea for everyone in the house to have at least a few cups of.

Breakfast usually included a few cups of tea, lesson planning, and toast with a glass of fresh passionfruit juice. Then, I’d hop onto tht dala dala, a bus that was so packed with people that no morning was complete without a stranger sitting on your lap or crouched between the other 20 riders on a 10-person bus. After teaching elementary school in the morning and high school in the afternoon, I usually took the bus back to Bahari beach, and walked to the beach itself — not far from Rold Dahl’s house, and a separate dial-up internet cafe.

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I had a typical Tanzanian school notebook that I used as a journal back then. It shouldn’t surprise you that I was a journal-writer, because, well, I write to you here as often as I can. I will say, it’s nice to have an actual reader for this type of stuff.

But after a drink or dinner at the beach cafe, I’d come back to the volunteer house and hang out with the girls and the other volunteers. I’d cross my fingers the entire walk back, hoping that there would be some tea left.

But then again, there was always beer, too.

Baking this cake filled my apartment with the scent of cardamom, which only made me drift back even further into these memories. I bought a massive box of Chai Bora before I left Tanzania — but I went through the tea ever so quickly, back in my UCSB days of daily, chilly morning Arabic classes.

They say scents spark the strongest memories, and when they do, years might have passed between the last time you even remembered the details your mind pairs with those scents.

It felt like years had passed since I smelled cardamom. The scent is comforting.

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Recipe after the jump.  (more…)

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