Due to work, grad school obligations, and an upcoming weekend vacation, I’ve been failing big-time with the blog! So here is a pretty random post featuring some of my recent food experiences and upcoming restaurants.

First of all, I (and my roommates) hosted a potluck this past weekend for a friend’s going away. I tried my hand at two baked ziti recipes, one with meat, one meatless with slight variations on both. Baked ziti is one of my favorite potluck dishes. It’s easy and inexpensive (my two favorite qualities these days when it comes to cooking).

For the meat recipe which I took from Food.com , I substituted 1 lb Italian sausage for the ground beef and added ricotta cheese to the mix. For the meat-less recipe, which I took from Allrecipes.com, I subtracted the the meat component and added ricotta also. Both took around 45 minutes to an hour to prepare (about 30 minutes prep, 30 minutes cook time).

Secondly, upcoming DC-area restaurants:

  • The Hamilton: The 14th restaurant of Clyde’s group set to open December. It will feature a concert-like venue for local musicians and will be right by the White House on 14th st. Official website here.
  • Two projects from Bryan Voltaggio: North Market Kitchen is sadly still located in far-out Frederick, Maryland. Sorry to everyone who lives out there, but it is in the boonies. The second restaurant will feature a store, kitchen with raw bar, cheese counter, sweets shop and rotisserie and seats 200.  Thankfully, the other project which is a yet-to-be-named restaurant is rumored to be a bistro and will be located closer-in at the Chevy Chase Pavilion next to the Cheesecake Factory.
  • Another restaurant from Restaurant Eve creators Cathal and Meshelle Armostrong, Society Fair will feature a 7,000 square foot space with cooking classes, bakery, butcher, wine bar, and studio kitchen. Interesting to see how they will balance all of their venues.
  • Lastly, featured in the Washington Post this past week was the Seasonal Pantry, Inc. a new venture from former sous chef of Equinox and Bibianna, Daniel O’Brien and partner Ali Bagheri. Until he has enough money to open his own place, Daniel O’Brien has set up shop in Shaw, selling fresh food and hosting Thursday-Saturday night “supper club” dinners for 12. Guests pre-pay online and the menu changes daily depending on O’Brien’s mood for that day. Tom Sietsema’s review had my mouth watering….
Lastly, some pictures from my recent visit to Willow which I’ve already reviewed before.

Whole Roasted Snapper

My boyfriend opted for the whole roasted snapper featuring Israeli cous cous, grilled eggplant house-made preserved lemon and feta dill yogurt sauce which was to die for.

Crispy speck-wrapped yellowfin tuna

I went for a more non-traditional dish, the crispy speck-wrapped yellowfin tuna with tomato and fennel broth (yummy) orzo and white bean risotto (interesting beans…), broccoli rabe pesto and zucchini. The flavors were very interesting. Everything was well-prepared, but the speck casing made it feel like I was eating tuna “jerky” if I had to be honest. I still love this place- great service, romantic atmosphere and a fantastic wine selection.