Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday = Working and Going Out for Dinner

The picture of Nicco (Binky) is completely unrelated to my post. However he is so cute I had to share this picture of him watching me write to post.  I have a great deal of feline supervision in my life.  ;-)

I was not happy to learn that Dan needed to go downtown to his office to work on Saturday. He did soften the blow considerably by saying he would be home early enough to go out to dinner which made up for it a little. ;-)

Breakfast on Saturday was a green smoothie for Dan. Like usual his smoothie contained: kale, frozen banana, walnuts, wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseeds, cinnamon, powdered ginger, stevia and almond milk.

I had no idea what I wanted for breakfast and asked Dan for ideas. He suggested that I make myself grapefruit and kale juice. Since I had no ideas of my own I went with that. Each time I have this I think how much I like it and that maybe I should add something like an orange or a banana. However I think I like the pure flavor of this and would rather not muddy the flavor. If you like grapefruit juice this is good and extremely healthy.

After Dan left for work I had a lot to do at home. There was a lot of work to do on the post that I put up yesterday. When I say a lot of work what I really mean is that I had to write most of it. I had forgotten that the Dr. Barnard book needed to go back to the library which only added to what I wrote yesterday. Nothing like waiting until the last minute right?

There was also a quick trip to the library to get more reading material. Is it any wonder that I always have too many things on my to-do list? I need to learn to bring home fewer items from the library. That would certainly result in more time in my schedule.

Since I had time on my hands I started tomorrow lunch with my parents today. I made an enormous pot of mushroom ragu (the version with the wine). This is one of Dan’s favorite meals. I mostly followed this recipe except I water sautéed the aromatics, added tomato paste, also added rosemary, and omitted the olives. I love mushroom ragu better the second day which is why I made this on Saturday to be served on Sunday. This is one of those dishes that improves sitting in the refrigerator. Dan will happily eat this for days and the leftovers are also great frozen. Woo hoo for intentional leftovers. ;-)

Knowing that we were going out to dinner and that this would result in more calories than usual I had a snack instead of lunch. I bet you knew what I as was going to say I had before you saw the picture. I had an orange with two Brazil nuts (for the selenium). No doubt about it I am in a snack rut. ;-)

Guess where we went for dinner? Something tells me you don’t really need to two guesses. It is always good to see Ian, Corey and the gang. How can you not love someplace where not only everyone knows your name, but your food preferences, that you like your green tea with a little hibiscus and greets you at the door with a hug and kiss. A girl can get used to this sort of thing … and I have. I hope all of you are starting to see why 99% of the time we end up here for dinner. The food is always very good and frequently out of this world good and the people are great. What more could you ask for?

When we walked in the door Alan (one of the owners) was there and greeted me with a hug and kiss. We had to wait maybe 2 minutes for our table, good thing we had reservations since there were other people also waiting to be seated.

Friday night when we were leaving the restaurant Corey asked me when we were coming back and I turned to Dan who said “How about tomorrow after I come home from work?” Well, there are worse ways to find out your husband has to work I guess. Needless to say I went into the kitchen to let Will know since Ian was already out the door. Since this is not a vegan restaurant the guys like a little notice so that they can come up with something unusual. Dan and I are happy with pizza and salad but the guys aren’t so we like to warn them when we are coming in. Not to mention they do things that I would never dream up. It is always great to go out to eat and get new recipe ideas or food combinations isn’t it? ;-)

Remember when I said Will had a chance to meet with Jose Andres and Eric Rippert earlier in the week? Will asked Jose for some ideas on menu progression for “two special customers” (that’s us  ... go figure) that he creates dishes for regularly. Jose suggested making three dishes, 1) something we are familiar with but made differently 2) flavors he was familiar with but with a twist and 3) end with something made with a mold. That was the inspiration for our dinner tonight. Thank you Will, you are too good to us.  ;-)

The first dish we got was fusion deconstructed guacamole. Will combined the traditional guacamole ingredients with Vietnamese items. Instead of serving it as guacamole (all smashed together) it came as a salad. This dish contained: shaved avocado, tomato gelée, green onions, radish, cilantro, lime and sriracha. We both liked this twist on guacamole it was unexpected but very good.

The second dish was what Will referred to as an “adult fruit roll up”. When Jen told us that was course two we had no idea what to expect but we are game for anything which meant we were looking forward to it. The green base of the dish was jalapeno, apple and pineapple. This was topped with red wine poached pears with cinnamon and topped with a port reduction and tiny pieces of strawberry. Dan and I both really enjoyed this dish. It had a little heat, a little sweet, complexity from the peppers, cinnamon and wine. The only thing it was missing was crispness. Ian had the idea of crispy dried apples maybe with a sugar crust which sounded intriguing. We both enjoyed that this dish was unexpected, gorgeous, and a combination that I would not have thought of myself.  This was by far our favorite dish last night because of the creativity.

The third dish was a vegetable tower. This dish was layers of: caramelized onions, crispy flatbread, and roasted red peppers, topped with mushrooms. If you are looking for a dish that is pretty enough to impress omnivores that is also “meaty” this is a good one.  It definitely felt like a healthy vegan meat and potatoes if that makes any sense.

After we finished with the planned courses Dan was still hungry and asked Will to make him a little pizza that was on the light side. This was a crispy whole wheat pizza topped with caramelized onions, mushrooms, roasted red pepper, arugula, crispy radish and finished balsamic glaze. Dan wanted a reasonably light pizza and this was perfect.

We had some time this evening to chat with everyone. Ian stopped by before he left, Corey chatted for a while, Will came out to talk too. Jen, Michael, and Jonathan also talked for a while. It is always good to hear what everyone is up to and how life is going. We stayed talking to Will and Jonathan until Corey was ready to lock up for the evening. While being out to dinner for 5 hours may seem odd for most people we do this often. As you can tell I am not kidding when I say we are part of the family at the restaurant. ;-)

By the time we got home it was after midnight and yet we still managed to stay up for a little while. It is really no wonder it is so difficult for us to make it to the gym when they open at 6am.  LOL

Happy thoughts:

• Saturday was a long day but also mostly a good one. Even though Dan had to work *boo hiss* I was still able to enjoy a long leisurely dinner with him and that was wonderful.

• Dinner was great and extremely unexpected which we both love. I may have to play around with the fruit roll up concept now to see what I can do with it. I never would have thought of that on my own. It is always a learning experience to go out to dinner. We are fortunate to have people that can work within the confines of what we eat and still be creative. Thank you Will, great job on Saturday. We both enjoyed it immensely.

• It is wonderful to have people in our life that have the same passion for food that we do. When we first went vegan I was worried that food wouldn’t be the same but that isn’t the case in fact food is now more interesting and cleaner tasting. It is a shame that more people don’t try whole plant based food diet for a while. I can’t imagine eating any other way now.

• I am very thankful that Dan is taking a day off next week to go to DC for the cherry blossoms. We haven’t done this since 1997 so it really is time to do it again. I am looking forward to taking pictures which I will share with you. Something tells me there may be a trip to Jaleo or Café Atlántico while we are in DC.  sounds like a great day doesn't it?

• The weather service had predicted snow Saturday night into Sunday morning which didn’t happen.  *woo hoo* I am very thankful that it didn’t snow. While the cold is bad, snow would have been much worse. Additionally I was a little worried what snow would do to the cherry blossoms. Now that is a nonissue.

• Sunday I got to spend a little time with my sweetie. Since I had made the mushroom ragu on Saturday it meant more free time on Sunday which was great.

Signing out:

This coming week I have a lot of things on my agenda. I will try to post everyday but that may not be practical. However I will do my best.

The weekend is quickly coming to an end. *sigh* Why is it that weekend days seem so much shorter than weekdays? Oh well I shouldn’t complain I had a nice weekend and Dan is taking off one day this coming week to go to DC. You have to love a four day week right?

I hope you had a great weekend too. Talk to you again tomorrow. Good night!


  1. Man- it all looks so amazing!!! I am drooling.. Yum. you always post the best food porn :-)
    Blessings, Debra
    Raw Vegan Diet

  2. I was in Columbia (md) for the weekend and I counted three flurries! Lol! I was so ready for Spring time ....

  3. Debra,

    The food porn was courtesy of Will and Ian but I will let them know you liked it. :-)


  4. Simona,

    You were very close to me this weekend. Do you live around here? I am on the north side of Baltimore near the universities, Johns Hopkins and Loyola.

    I am very ready for spring myself,

  5. Actually I live in Arlington, but I have some friends in Columbia and I'd like to spend my weekends with them.
    Their house is close to a lake and I love walking there.
    I've been once to Baltimore, but not for pleasure :(
    Is the university close to the hospital?

  6. Awww Nicco :) How is the flavor of kale with grapefruit? I have kale smoothies in the morning and also eat grapefruit, but don't ever combined the two.

  7. Simona,

    The hospital is on the east side of town and we are on the north, so not really that close. I can walk to the university in under 10 minutes but the hospital is definitely a drive and about 15-20 minutes at that.

    Do you ever make it to the Mediterranean Bakery in Arlington? I used to drive down there every month or so to pick up hard to find items before I got lazy. We will be in DC today so i may stop in now that I am thinking about it.

    Sorry for the delay in replying. My computer had a virus yesterday that Dan fixed for me this morning.

    Happy Tuesday!

  8. Carissa,

    Good morning! Didn't that picture just look like Nicco was looking through the screen? My cell camera is amazing. ;-)

    I love the grapefruit and kale combination. It tastes like grapefruit and cinnamon to me. I have been drinking kale so long that I don't even notice the flavor any more.

    We are off to DC to look at the Cherry Blossoms. *woo hoo*

    have a great Tuesday,

  9. I am so interested in the deconstructed guacamole, I just might have to make some!!
    Binky you roguish devil you! Did he make sure you spelled everything right? LOL
    Hugs, B~

  10. I haven't be there but I will give it a try.

    I have a passion for grocery stores, my husband makes fun of me lol

    I would like to go the Cherry Blossoms Festival, I missed it last year because of my crazy work schedule.

    Have Fun!


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