What I Ate Wednesday

What I Ate & Did In D.C.

Somehow the last time I posted was on August 7, and it’s already August 20. I have no idea how that happened. Blame it on my summer brain.

At the end of July, I went to visit my good friend Kaitlyn, who was interning and living in D.C. for most of the summer. I’d been to D.C. multiple times for school trips and stuff but never really just to have fun and get to know the city aside from the monuments.

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Well, I never said I didn’t stop by to say hello to Lincoln and Washington. That’s, like, a must.

After we worked up an appetite by walking all over Chinatown (we saw Ford’s Theater there, it was pretty crazy!) and by the monuments, we walked to our dinner reservations at a restaurant called Oyamel, which I first heard about on How Sweet It Is (if you’re unaware, I’m obsessed with Jessica and will without a doubt be going to one of her Pittsburgh book signings in the coming months, so naturally I had to eat here because she raved about their tableside-made guacamole).

So yeah, Oyamel was a must-do. It’s a Mexican tapas restaurant/bar and is apparently very popular. It was packed! But luckily we made those reservations, so we didn’t wait long. Kaitlyn and I both started off with margaritas topped with SALT AIR. Yes. Salt air foam, I should say. I have no idea how much science goes into make salt air foam, but it was grand.

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And naturally we had chips, salsa and guacamole. The guacamole was, no lie, the best I’ll ever have in my life, I’m sure of it. The avocados were so fresh and the flavor was just tangy enough. I can’t recommend this place enough for the guac alone.

Then we had our tapas! From Top left, down, and back up to the dessert in the top right: margs, guac and salsa; plantain, carrot and black bean fritters with a chipotle sauce (very different but delish nonetheless); quesadillas; this amazing sauté of swiss chard, cabbage, hazelnuts, cranberries, raisins, and an apricot purée; coffee flavored ice cream with caramelized bananas and the best carmel chocolate sauce I’ve ever tasted.

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I was satisfied with this meal, to say the least, but not until I licked the salt foam out of my empty margarita (which, I have to add, were a little bit pricy for their size but also worth it because… do I need to mention the salt foam again?).

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Then we went back to Kaitlyn’s apartment and crashed because we were so full and tired. The next morning, we walked over to Georgetown to try out a class at corepower yoga. Kaitlyn knows I love hot yoga, and she wanted me to try this yoga, strength and cardio fusion class that she’d been frequenting all summer. Well. HOLY CANNOLI. I actually almost fainted in the class and had to step out for a minute because it was in a heated room and really, really intense, even for someone who is not knew to hot yoga. I would call it more bootcamp in a heated class than yoga fusion. The instructor was kind of a drill sergeant, too. Overall, it was a good, sweaty workout that got me moving, but I wouldn’t take the class again.

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After that, we showered up and headed back for a day shopping in Georgetown, which is definitely one of the biggest shopping meccas I’ve ever seen. They had any and every store you need. We stopped in the mid-afternoon for a lunch dessert at Baked & Wired, which Kaitlyn claimed was more delicious than Georgetown Cupcakes (from that TV show). I believe her, because my chocolate cupcake was rocking.

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That night, we went out to a couple different bars unexpectedly. I really loved D.C’s nightlife scene. We were having so much fun that we almost forgot to eat dinner, but we quickly remedied that by heading to Burger Tap & Shake (BTS) for burgers… and a spiked vanilla shake (that I probably, definitely didn’t need, but it was quite tasty). Yay America.

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On Sunday morning, we had reservations for Farmers, Fishers, Bakers, which is a super popular brunch spot. The restaurant has a buffet on Sundays, which is in very high demand. We had reservations, and we still were forced to wait almost an hour. I was a little salty about this after the fact … but I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Here’s what I had to eat (top left, to bottom, to top right): every table gets a cinnamon roll and a biscuit plate (with enough for each person to have one of each); a random assortment of shredded beef, chips and guac, kale salad, watermelon mint salad, meatball, and squash; fried dough with chocolate sauce (I wanted it to be filled with something & sadly it wasn’t… I didn’t finish it); two different kinds of sushi (they walk around with sushi to each table which was cool!); and chocolate French toast with berry sauce, egg white scramble, broiled grapefruit and Canadian bacon.

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The first thing I’ll say is the biscuits and cinnamon rolls were great. I ate all of both of mine, which was probably my biggest downfall, especially since I don’t eat a ton of white bread products usually. It did a number on my stomach that I couldn’t undo. Since I had a ton of bread before the meal, I stuck to less bready things on the buffet, minus the French toast. I’m glad I got the French toast because it was fantastic. Everything else, honestly, was just okay. The sushi was very good, but it was a weird mix of types of food.

I really wanted this brunch to be amazing, but it just didn’t hit the mark for me. I was less than impressed with the service, and I think I’m just not a buffet person because I get too full and feel sick afterward. I was glad I gave it a shot because I’d heard a lot of hype – it just didn’t live up to the hype, in my opinion. I think you could find a better brunch in DC elsewhere.

Then the day went up! We visited Arlington Cemetery in the afternoon, which was humbling and beautiful as always. That took a while, what with all the walking, but we still didn’t work up an appetite. We had plans later in the evening, so we just rested and had a quick snack before we headed out at night…

… to see my favorite band ever, The Kooks. I did plan for that weekend specifically because The Kooks would be in town, and their show didn’t disappoint. They played at the 9:30 Club, which is a great concert venue. It’s just small enough so that you will have a great view. We opted to steer clear of the crazy screaming teens (I mean, I was a crazy screaming 20 something but whatever) and stand on the balcony, where we could see better than if we’d been on the floor. I don’t think I stopped smiling for the entire show.

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D.C. is a beautiful and historic city. I loved getting to see parts of the town that I hadn’t before, and I’m totally convinced that I would live there one day if the opportunity presented itself.

If you’re ever in the D.C. area, I hope you enjoy the food and sights as much as I did!

Thanks, Jenn, for hosting WIAW!


Questions of the Day:
>> Have you ever been to D.C.?
>> What other cities have great food scenes?
>> What’s your opinion of buffets?

More places to find me:
Twitter: @angiggy
Facebook: nuttylifeang
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Pinterest: Ang @ Nutty for Life
Email: nuttylifeang@gmail.com

What I Ate In Cincinnati

Last weekend, Cassie and I traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio to see the one and only Beyoncé and her man Jay. To say we were excited would be an understatement. We headed out to the city on Friday since her cousin lives nearby. I’d never been to Cincinnati before, and I didn’t really know what to think. I’ve heard rave reviews about the place since I went to school with crazy Cincinnati residents, but I’ve also heard that the city wasn’t so safe.

I’m happy to report that I adored Cincinnati and all it had to offer. The vibe I got actually reminded me a lot of Pittsburgh – low-key but also quietly really cool. I felt right at home, and if that wasn’t enough, the food would surely get me to come back for a return visit.

Friday night Cassie, her cousin, Jaimie, and I went out to dinner, first stopping at Senate for a drink while we waited for our table. All three of us ordered the rosé. I would definitely come back to Senate for  meal. It was a small restaurant but packed a punch with modern décor, and it smelled GREAT.

After our drink, the three of us got our table at Abigail Street. I’ve only been to a tapas restaurant one other time in my life, but this meal solidified my love for tapas. Wow. The restaurant itself was so cute. It’s a sister to Senate, so the décor was similar – dim but inviting with white exposed brick and little modern and rustic details. But the food… ohhh the food. Some of the best I’ve had in a while.

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We started with their special of the day, a balsamic tomato salad over feta. I’m a tomato freak so this was perfect. I need to make this at home for lunch sometime.

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We decided to each pick one other dish for the table, but I think we would have ended up with the same things if we’d chosen together. My choice was the Beets, which came with hazelnuts, golden and red beets and a brown butter vinaigrette. It was good but not the best out of the bunch.

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Cassie chose the Borek, which was a phyllo dough filled with roasted peppers, onions, eggplant, feta and mint. This was to.die.for.

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We ended the meal with lamb sliders. They were phenomenal: slightly spicy, a little tangy and savory.

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The next morning hit us a little hard after finishing our night at The Drinkery, but it was well worth the fun. I had a little bowl of oatmeal to start the day while Cassie was out for her run. We find a great little make-your-own salad bar called Ingredients for lunch, but I completely forgot to take a picture of it! We were so hungry by that point that pictures were not on my radar.

The concert on Saturday was at Great American Ballpark. Much to our groups chagrin, every single business around the park was packed with over an hour wait. I was getting extremely hangry and cranky (thanks for putting up with me, guys), so I suggested heading a few blocks into the city instead of staying by the area. We ended up at a place called Local 127. The feel reminded me a lot of dinner from Friday. Cassie and I shared a chicken and wheatberry dish and a salad.

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Weird story: Cassie’s cousin was talking about taking the Moscow Mule copper mug that she got from the restaurant, and the bartender said to go ahead and take it. We were floored, but then the bartender said that the business was closing! I could not believe it. The meal we had was really great, but I think that the location, which was outside of the new hip area of Cincy, was the problem.

And now: the concert. All I can say is HOLY CRAP. It was outstanding – three hours! I’ve never seen a more deliberately planned and executed, exciting, and talent-filled show. Even the back-up dancers were awe-inspiring.

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On Sunday we woke up a little later than I expected but got out and about pretty quickly. We started at Findlay Market, which reminded me a lot of St. Lawrence Market in Toronto and North Market in Columbus. After strolling through the vendors, we drove over to Melt for brunch. For anyone following a veggie or vegan diet, this is the place to go. Even though I don’t follow those diets, I had a vegan meal of tofu scramble, red potato hash and fruit. It was a little spicy, which I don’t usually go for, but I loved it. Highly recommend this place (which actually was recommended to us by Cassie’s friend Emily!).

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After brunch it was time to hit the road. I had a wonderful time during my first visit to Cincinnati, and I know I’ll be back!

 

Thanks to Cassie for taking me on the trip & most of these pics, and Jaimie for letting us crash with her!

WIAW is hosted by Jenn at Peas & Crayons.

Questions of the Day:
>> Do you have any outdoor/indoor stationary markets near you?
>> Have you had tapas before? Where?!
>> Any trips on your docket?

What I Ate In Toronto [WIAW #46]

Clearly, this is going to be about what I ate while I was in Toronto. Yesterday I gave you a look at what’s been happening in May while I’ve been away from the blog as well as what I’d been eating, but today will focus solely on last weekend. Disclaimer: I forgot to take pictures of dinner Friday and lunch Saturday, but I’ll explain that more in a minute.

By the time Cassie and I got to Davida and her boy’s apartment, it was something around 8:30 pm. We were really hungry but also distracted because we were so excited to be there. Davida cooked us a delicious dinner of Thai mussels (which she wasn’t super happy with, but I was a mussel virgin and liked them) as well as a preview of a salad she is putting in her e-cookbook. Let me tell you, this salad was AMAZING. I am going to buy the cookbook solely for the salad. I don’t want to spoil the surprise/ingredients, so just take my word for it.

Saturday morning, we woke up pretty late thanks to a night out before, so on the way to St. Lawrence market I had a banana, an iced coffee, and a Kewaza ball. Then came lunch – we ate a Rock Lobster and they were only offering brunch at the time we got there (which, I have to add, was at 1 pm). The brunch menu was short and I didn’t want anything super heavy, so I ordered “The Traditional.” It included eggs, bacon, Canadian bacon, home fries and some toast. My meal came out at least ten minutes after everyone else’s, and I was so hungry I just dug right in. It was a pretty average meal – I only ate the bacon, home fries, eggs, and half a slice of toast, though.

Okkkkkkay so now to the part of my Canadian eats that I’m obsessed with: Fresh. Fresh is a vegetarian concept restaurant. It looks really trendy inside, which I appreciated, and everything they serve not only looks beautiful but is also good for you in the sense that the ingredients are real (what I mean is, if you got a brownie there, it’s still a brownie, just a brownie made with real ingredients).

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This salad was called Mega Life: “marinated tofu cubes, grilled spinach, alfalfa and sunflower sprouts, grated carrots, parsley and Toasted Mixed Nuts on salad greens.” I got it with their house dressing and it was heaven in Canada.

Cassie and I both enjoyed our salads so much that we requested we get lunch after yoga from Fresh the next day. I didn’t take a picture of the lunch salad, but I ordered the Big Salad: “avocado, cucumber, tomato, carrot, red pepper & hulled hemp seeds on salad greens.” I added marinated tofu cubes to that and was still floating there in heaven. 

Backing up for a second, we had breakfast on Sunday at Davida’s apartment. She cooked us up a batch of her Green Banana Pancakes – and she added chocolate chips (NOM.). I was thrilled to get to try another Healthy Maven recipe straight from the source, and these pancakes did not disappoint. I had mine with some maple syrup and greek yogurt and probably could have eaten the entire batch. They were so fluffy and perfect.

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I had a feeling I would be well-fed in Toronto, seeing as I was going to visit a recipe/healthy lifestyle blogger, and I was correct. I have to give Davida one more huge thank you for keeping my tummy happy while in Canada. I can’t wait until she cooks for me again 😉

Questions of the Day:
>> Have you ever made any Healthy Maven recipes? If not, do it now.
>> Do you have any restaurants like Fresh in your area? I am really hoping Pittsburgh gets something like it ASAP.