As we were browsing though some photos this week and deciding what we wanted to feature on the blog, it occurred to us that although we've been cooking and eating at home a lot, we've also eaten quite a few notable meals at other places. And we've happened to snap photos during those meals.
So we're rounding out this week with a quick look at six food experiences we've loved this summer, starting with this beautiful sandwich.
While travelling a few weeks ago, we found ourselves with an unexpected five hours to kill in Boston. So we spent a great day in the North End, walking the cozy streets, browsing in the Italian markets, and, of course, eating. We had no idea where to go, and happened upon Vollee Nolle. The place caught our eye because it had been featured in the June Martha Stewart Living for their Smoked Salmon Sandwich (which Zach ordered). The feature was posted in the window, so we took it as a sign that we should eat there. Clay ordered the Veal Pastrami sandwich picturd above: Swiss cheese, coleslaw, Russian dressing and mustard, pressed in a French roll. Heaven in a sandwich.
Here's a shot of the menu written on the back wall of Vollee Nolle (you can click it to enlarge):
That trip with the Boston layover was to Provincetown, Massachusettes, where we spent the week of July Fourth. We rented the tiiiiiiiiiniest little cottage that had only one room and a separate bath. The kitchen was "fully appointed" but also "fully a challenge" because there was so little space to do anything. But we cooked quite a bit -- easy beach/summer food: corn, tomatoes, beans, some simply done meats.
Our favorite thing we may have eaten in Provincetown was a simple cucumber salad that we bought at Far Land Provisions (the absolute best little market we've visited on the Cape) and packed for a picnic lunch on the beach. Maybe it was the sand, or the view, or just the fact that we were eating a fun lunch on the beach, but the cucumber salad was killer -- sweet and salty, and just really fresh tasting. (We'll spare you swimsuit photos).
And of course while on the Cape, we had an obligatory lobster roll. In truth, it wasn't the best lobster roll we've ever had. But hey, we were eating lobster.
Back at home, we loved seeing that that there's a new vendor at our Farmers Market, Pleasant Pops, a cute little push cart that sells popsicles. We bought the Peaches & Ginger pop a few weeks ago and are obsessed. We can't wait to try more flavors, including Blueberry Pancake.
We're typically early to the market, getting there by 8:30 a.m. or so. That's not too early for a popsicle, right?
In great but also willpower-challenging news, we just learned that Pleasant Pops is opening its first retail location around the corner from our house. We may be going on the all-popsicle diet. (Pleasant Pops had a Kickstarter campaign for the permanent space that includes an adorable video.)
The Fancy Food Show was in D.C. for the second year this summer, and we went for the second time. If you haven't heard of it, it's a huge food convention where producers and retailers come together. The producers are showcasing their new stuff, while the retailers are deciding what they'll carry in their stores. And then there's people like us, who go just to try a bunch of fantastic food products.
It's essentially an endless parade of samples. Lots of olive oil and chocolate. Lots of cured meats and pickled items. We were lucky to spend most of the day walking around with Bob and Tori from Sickles Market, who have been advertising here on The Bitten Word for the past few months. They seemed to know nearly all the producers, and were kind enough to introduce us to many people there. It was an amazing day and we were amazingly full.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the show was that we met Jeni (!), she of the Salty Caramel Ice Cream and the book we just can't get enough of. Jeni was so friendly and gave us a sample of the Ice Cream Sandwich pictured above: Chocolate Hazelnut, which is "Dark Chocolate ice cream coated in roasted and salted hazelnuts between from-scratch hazelnut-flour macaroons." Be still our hearts. There's a recipe in the book if you can't find them in a store near you.
For Clay's birthday, we went out to dinner this year, choosing Makoto, a sushi restaurant that's been here in D.C. for more than a decade and is, according to many people, the best Japanese restaurant in the city.
It's a tiny place with only a handful of tables. We sat at the counter where we could watch the chefs at work and ordered the omakase menu, which is essentially a seven- or eight-course tasting menu. It included everything from hot pot beef and vegetables to raw sashimi to soup. But the standout that night was the soft-shell crab (above). We're not big soft-shell fans, but this was phenomenal. The chefs took the crabs, tossed them in egg whites, rolled them in puffed rice and dropped them in the fryer. It was hot and golden and just delicious (which is probably more about the fried than about the crab, but hey!). The Washington Post says that the two condiments on the side are green tea and chili powders. Phenomenal.
Over Memorial Day, we popped up to New York to see some friends (this was the same trip where we visited the Martha Stewart Test kitchens). We scored a lunch reservation at ABC Kitchen, the Jean-Georges restaurant that's inside the ABC Carpet & Home store. We each had a three-course lunch. Here are the best three of those six dishes:
Roasted Beets over a house-made yogurt, paired with a balsamic dressing.
Ravioli, with a pork ragu. Look at that beautiful piece of pasta!
Salted caramel ice cream, with candied peanuts and popcorn.
That's a lot of good eating in two short months. Thank goodness there's plenty of summer left.