Food Adventures in Philly, Maryland, and Washington DC

I have an awesome dessert recipe to share with you…tomorrow.  Today, I want to tell you about what I’ve eaten recently that were cooked by someone other than myself.  This past weekend, my sisters and I took our cousin Fiona to Philly, Maryland, and Washington DC, where we visited the iconic landmarks, and, of course, ate some of the foods on my forever-growing “foods to try” lists!

No visit to Philly is complete without trying the cheesesteaks, especially from the two famous vendors: Geno’s and its rival Pat’s.  We all thought Pat’s was better.  Sorry Geno’s fans!

Bassett’s ice cream.  I had Guatemalan Ripple (coffee with chocolate swirls) and Macadamia Nuts, though I thought the flavors were a bit lacking in intensity.

Maryland crab soup and bisque, crabcakes, and steamed crabs with Old Bay seasoning!  We had crabs at Captain James Landing and Schwartz’s, and both were fresh and tasty.  The seasoning at Schwartz’s was better (not too spicy and just the right amount of salt), but I enjoyed the ambiance at Captain James Landing more.  With outdoor seating of picnic tables and benches on the pier, and a couple of wooden mallets and plastic buckets, we were all set for a relaxing and low-key summer evening!

Brunch at Cafe Leopold in Cady’s Alley.  Two of us ordered the sausage hash and two of us ordered the quiche, and we all agreed that the dishes were perfectly cooked (the potato was especially delicious)!

Pastries from Paul Bakery.  My sister raved about their palmiers and even got an extra one to snack on for when we returned to the hotel later!

Coconut flan

Fresh apricot puff pastry tart

Gourmandise (puffed pastry filled with pastry cream and chocolate chips)

We had dinner at Founding Farmers.  Since the restaurant is supported by sustainable farming practices, the menu is inspired by the farm-to-table concept and includes seasonal vegetable dishes.

Toasted ciabatta with three different dips: romesco, avocado, and pimento cheese

The highlight of the meal was definitely the bacon lollis!  It tasted like jerky with a crunchy brown sugar coating and I could imagine myself eating a dozen of these in one sitting.  I’ll try to recreate this appetizer as soon as I can get my hands on some thick-cut bacon.

Chicken pot pie

Pan-fried chicken and waffles

Fresh pasta with sweet corn and asparagus

Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, squash, and “rice-a-roni”

And finally, I visited the kitchen of my favorite chef of all time: Julia Child!  Julia’s kitchen is currently being displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, so definitely go check it out if you’re a fan like me!


48 Hours in Boston

Life can really wear us down sometimes.  Between errands to run, phone calls to make, bills to pay, there are also trips to the dentist, the doctor, the supermarket, the post office, and then add to that, our day job, our weekly workouts, quality time spent with friends and family, and hobbies.  You see, between the daily grinds, sometimes life can be overbearing and suffocating.  We begin to miss the main purpose and meaning behind every little thing we have to accomplish, forgetting the very reasons why we have to accomplish them.  When sentiments like this loom large, it is a sign that you need to take some time off from the routines and recharge your batteries.

I just returned from my weekend getaway to Boston where we visited our friend since college.  We talked, and laughed, and ate, and ate some more.  I almost didn’t come want to come home.  But since that’s not an option, I want to share with you some of my food adventures over the weekend.

I had a roasted lamb, goat cheese, and tomato chutney sandwich at Flour Bakery.  Where can I get a reliable recipe for tomato chutney!?

And tried meringue cookies for the first time.

We had bubbly drinks, some snacks, followed by a dinner of fried clams and oyster sliders at Island Creek Oyster Bar.

A brunch the following day at a quirky cafe inside a bookstore on Newbury Street.

Our plans to go to the beach in Manchester were thwarted by the fickle scattered thunderstorms, but we found respite in the Boston Public Library.

A courtyard this beautiful in the middle of the library.  Who would’ve guessed?

We looked at a mass of tangled wires, or rather, art.

And were inspired by other people’s goals and dreams.

We walked lazily around the North End.

Then we ate fresh pasta.  Mine was in a gorgeous shade of red!

Chocolate tartufo for desserts!  To.  Die.  For.

Brunch is one of my favorite rituals.  This one was at Eastern Standard.

We checked out the SOWA flea market.  And food trucks!

I had a cilantro chicken bahn mi and basil lemonade from Bon Me.  Both were really delicious.

It was a great weekend well spent with good friends and tasty foods.  I hope to come back soon!

Adour by Alain Ducasse

Recently, I had the pleasure of dining at Adour by Alain Ducasse in the St. Regis.  The atmosphere was plush and elegant, the service was impeccable, and the dishes were so well executed.  Overall, it was a culinary excellence deserving of its Michelin star!

Here’s what we ate:

We started off with an amuse bouche of chilled yellow beets and melons in tomato gelée.

Egg cocotte with Comte cheese and Parisian ham.  I was so thrilled with this dish; it was like eating egg and cheese clouds, with specks of savory goodness from the ham!  Delicious and indulgent.

And one of the signature dishes: vegetables cookpot.  It was bursting with the earthy flavors of summer vegetables and probably one of the best vegetable preparations I’ve ever enjoyed in a restaurant.

Chilled lobster salad Bellevue with coral dressing.

Then the chef kindly sent us a complimentary course: Siberian caviar and thin slices of marinated daurade with preserved lemon.  Unfortunately, this dish wasn’t as enjoyable for me, because I’m not a fan of caviar.  I scooped off the generous layer of caviar and just ate the fish.  Wasteful, I know…

For the main course, I had the squab breast with seared foie gras.

Then we moved on to roasted duck breast with black mission figs.

We also had farm-raised lamb loin and chops.  I was a bit full at this point, but the meat was perfectly cooked.

For desserts, we ordered vacherin with mango marmalade and coconut meringue.  I love the presentation of the dish!  I’ll show you how to do the pineapple flower in another post.

We also had macarons and chocolates, though I was a bit disappointed about the macarons.  The flavors were not as pronounced as, say, Laduree’s (which wins the best macaron contest in my opinion, in each and every flavor category!).