We thought about going to The Homestead or The Greenbrier for our anniversary but we just got back from WV and we’re about to leave for the OBX, and Fathers’ Day is coming up, so we decided on an easy dinner out. I made a reservation at Brine, a fairly new restaurant with a good raw bar. Then I thought I should pick somewhere HB might prefer instead. But I realized that we really do like the same things, and Brine would probably be plenty fancy enough. As it turns out, it was a great decision. We started with cocktails. HB got an awesome take on the Old Fashioned with Four Roses and chocolate bitters. I got the margarita that won Margarita Wars in DC. For food, we ordered the honey hole (12 oysters, 12 clams, 12 shrimp, and some awesome ceviche). We also got an order of voodoo fries.
The local Rappahannock oysters were great, but surprisingly, not my favorite part of the assortment. I enjoyed the oysters with Brine’s really delicious mignonette and a squeeze of lemon. For the clams, I poured some Tabasco sauce and added a pinch of real horseradish. The clams, enjoyed in this way, were amazing. I don’t know if I enjoyed them, or the ceviche, more. Everything was amazing, including the fries, which came with a great cajun mustard but were even better with the house-made barrel aged hot sauce.
After our cocktails we ordered a bottle of cava which was reasonably priced and delicious. We ordered one dessert, but our waiter, Mike, brought out three since it was our anniversary. Everyone we encountered at Brine was very welcoming and helpful, which is rare for a restaurant which as been open only so long, but even so, Mike was exceptionally helpful and friendly. We were generous with our tip, and he earned every cent.
We had an amazing anniversary at Brine, and we’ll definitely be back.by rsiv with no comments yet
CK had us over for some steak, and we had sugar shack for dessert. Delicious, and her back patio is awesome.
On Saturday I went rowing, but the wind was up, so I had to settle for a walk and a nice cigar.
We continued to take advantage of the great weather.
The next weekend was the company family picnic. We had some good food, played some bingo, and had some characters done.
After a few beers, the bounce house looked pretty enticing.
We had a little too much fun…
Then the butt had her first taste of real food (not cereal). She loved avocado.
Monday, I had to run over to Urban Angler to get outfitted for Memorial Day weekend. It turned into a family affair. We grabbed lunch at Eamonn’s Dublin Chipper.
After some amazing fish and chips (with tartar and curry sauce), a Guinness, and a fried mars bar for dessert, FJ and I headed over to Urban Angler. While we waited for our rods to get set up, we grabbed a beer at Murphy’s. I highly recommend Urban Angler for fly fishing gear. Alan gave us a lot of help and really good advice. I wouldn’t have caught any fish this weekend without his guidance. Also, thanks Chris for the advice at the company picnic.
Later in the week I discovered that the VA ABC now has a cool system for showing you which products come from Virginia.
My black cats avoided relegation!
And we had some delicious crabs at the Quarterdeck.
On a cold and rainy Wednesday, HB and I had a nice fortifying Irish meal at Ireland’s Four P’s.
The superchunk used her high chair for the first time.
We dined al fresco and enjoyed more good weather.
EF did her best Founders Breakfast Stout impression…
EF handled her shots like a champ.by rsiv with no comments yet
The night before the pickin’, I got four key lime pies from America Seafood Company (behind Arrowine). They make a mean key lime pie. Short of my wife’s, mom’s, and sister’s (in no particular order), they make the best I’ve had. The next morning I iced down some beer, and Lil gave me a road cigar for the ride to the market.
We went to Jessie Taylor at the Maine Ave. Seafood Market, because they always do us right. This year they threw in a gratis dozen, and a half pound of large head on shrimp.
After a quick steam, we grabbed the bushels, shrimp, and headed home to start pickin’.
The Dead Rise beer from Flying Dog was delicious. You can taste the old bay, but its very subtle. Its got a nice summer ale base behind it. The killed the whole case, so I’ll have to go get some more.
The crab, beer, and key lime pie was amazing. This is just about my favorite meal. After what felt like hours of picking, I was food, and we started picking for crab cake leftovers. The Penn’s are seasoned vets, but Jodi was also holding her own.
Then it was bubble party time.
After everybody rolled out, I had once last beer, and enjoyed the weather. It was a great day, with great friends and a great family. Thanks again to Lil for the crabs.by rsiv with no comments yet
I’ve made some really good food the last couple of days. The first was last week when I realized we had a lot of hummus and tzatziki leftover. I instacarted some ground lamb, feta, and salad. I pan fried the lamb burgers with some oregano, feta, and herbs de provence mixed in. Then I just put some baby kale in champagne vinaigrette on the plate with the leftover dips, and we were in business. I’ll have to remember this recipe. Its easy, fast, and delicious. Then FJ took me to pick up the M3 at Martin Motorsports. Gary has been taking care of my M3 for over a decade, and he is the best in the area. He has done everything from oil changes to transmission replacements for me. I cannot say enough good things about Gary or Martin Motorsports.
I enjoyed a small success in working from home some this week.
On Thursday, Lemuel and Caroline came in to town. Caroline was headed out to Morocco with LeBeef. Lemuel gave her a ride and then picked up a motorcycle in Charlottesville. We had dinner at Gypsy Soul.
The food was decadent, and everyone had a great time. EF was particularly good that night. She was all smiles and hardly a peep.
The fried chicken, steak, and mac and cheese were standouts. The chicken and dumplings were pretty good as well, and I’d say my catfish rounded out the bottom, despite also being quite good.
Friday, we started on a walk to Mad Fox, but a delicious scent of curry wafted through the air, and like a siren, it pulled us off course and to its door.
I ordered the Junglee Laal Maas. The waiter asked if I liked spicy food, as its a very spicy dish, but before I could answer, HB interjected that not only did I like spicy food, we were insulted that they asked, and that they should try to serve me something too spicy just too see how futile it would be (or something to that effect). I was then served the spiciest dish I’ve ever consumed. I felt dizzy while eating it.
But it was so delicious, I even had the leftovers the next day…
…but that was a terrible mistake. I tried to preempt the inevitable by taking some peptos, but I learned my lesson about trying to play god with my bowels. Nature must take its course and some things are not meant to stay in the body. My tum was not right for a long time, and I would get woozy off even one beer. Something was not right. I feel OK today (5 days later), but its taken me that long to feel right. Moral of story (HB), don’t taunt the waiter when he asks if you can handle India spicy.
Later that week I made some chicken and waffle sliders with some WV apple sauce for breakfast.
Since it was a nice day, I made some Barbados Rum Punch, and we got some salteñas and fried yucca for lunch. For the rum punch, use mount gay eclipse (or at the very least, something aged), and freshly ground nutmeg.
Then we did a little porch sitting with a glass of mount gay eclipse and a bolivar. I’ve been loving this spring weather.
On Saturday, we went to the farmers market and got some crabcakes for lunch.
Then I put my germinated tobacco seeds in plugs. I’ll post more about my tobacco crop later on, or search my archives about last year’s harvest.
On Easter Sunday, FJ and I went to Jefferson to get a quick 9 in (yes I ended that in a preposition, deal). Sunderland came off with a big win, 3 points, and hopefully, a better chance of not getting relegated.
With LeBeef out of town, we still decided to do a family Easter dinner. I had an irreverent idea/good recipe I thought would work with rabbit, so I went for it. I quartered the rabbits the night before, and put them in a brine of salt water (1/4th cup salt, half cup water or so), bourbon, and freshly chopped rosemary. After golf, I got the smoker going (but you could also do them on the grill).
I used FJ’s trusty blowpoke to regulate the temp.
It smelled delicious.
A while back, I found a different kind of rib recipe. Its basically just balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, cayenne pepper, and rosemary. It works really well with pork, but I had a hunch it would also work well with smoked rabbit. I never follow a recipe exactly, but I did use the same ingredients. I used a different brine/marinade overnight, and then since there is a lot of sugar in the sauce, I only mopped the rabbit about an hour or so before it was done, and then added some extra sauce when I took it off. Otherwise, the sugar in the sauce might burn on you (especially if grilling it at a higher temp).
While we waited, I enjoyed the weather with a few beers. If you aren’t up on this Innis & Gunn (thanks CK and Ryan), you don’t know what you’re missing.
LeBeef facetimed us from Rabat.
Otto played with the girls.
And after trying to stoke the smoker up to caramelize the final glaze, and putting the corn on the bottom rack, I managed to start a brief but intense husk fire, which didn’t mess up the food, but was dramatic none the less. Everyone was superlative about the meal. CK said it was in her top 5 of all time. If you want to recreate it, I think I smoked the corn about 45 minutes at about 220-300 or so, and the potatoes can be on as long as it takes the meat to cook. I’d actually have preferred to pan fried the taters, but I didn’t have time and I didn’t want to mess up with kitchen with LeBeef gone. Season the potatoes with the same balsamic, brown sugar, garlic, cayenne, rosemary marinade as the rabbit. Again, due to the sugar, I’d add the marinade towards the end of the cooking process. Spray or mop olive oil on the corn before you smoke/grill it, then butter to serve.
After dinner we had blueberry pie and decorated eggs.
Then the next morning we had some hot cross buns for Easter that we got from the Amish shop over at the farmers’ market.
Monday was opening day, and FJ invited me to the ballgame.
On the way, in the convertible, we saw the first cherry blossoms starting to pop out, and the paddle boats are on the water.
I had a footlong and a beer.
We didn’t come away with a win, but with spring and baseball back, one can’t complain. Especially me. Spring is finally here, I’ve been eating well and seeing family, my girls are doing great, and I’ve got two golf trips on the horizon. Life is good.by rsiv with no comments yet
EF had another round of shots.
And after she calmed down, we celebrated with some really good beer at Mad Fox. I thought I’d be healthy, so I ordered a Kale Caesar salad with shrimp, which was really really good.
On my daddy daycare day, EF and I went for a run. It was a demoralizing .7 miles…
HB, FJ, LeBeef, and I went to the FCC Chamber gala. Last year I cleaned up on the silent auction, but went home empty handed this year. Jane fared better with an OBX house. Somebody put big money down on the woods. And LeBeef came home with a big award (as always, we’re very proud of her)…
CK and CK Jr. were sleeping peacefully when we got home.
HB made EF a wig.
Then we went to Taqueria El Poblano for lunch. I had a potato chorizo hash, and HB got chorizo french toast (RP would have loved it). The margaritas were also on point, but what I always even up craving is that salsa.
EF can see about 12 feet away now, and she and FJ like to watch my little pony and Julius Jr.
For FCC restaurant week, we went to Sfizi. HB and FJ had wild boar pasta, and we also had a nice barolo.
And finally, forget what I said about Grady cold brew. Cool Brew is now my jam. Pictured below is the summer 15 seasonal flavor, but I’ve also tried the normal/chicory one, and its on point. The easy measure feature of the bottle is also very convenient. Apparently, this is the original cold brew coffee. I have a couple bottles of Grady left over, but when they’re gone, I’m a Cool Brew man all the way.by rsiv with no comments yet
We had yet another snowday up here in Virginia. We’d just had a chimney sweeped, so it was the perfect time for a fire.
EF got in a little tummy time by the fire, but mostly just put her feet up and relaxed.
I grabbed an ice bucket (courtesy of Pam-l-a and WinnDixie), filled it with some snow, and then popped in a bottle of bubbly (courtesy of Ryry and Jojo).
I took a look at our netflix options, and found out we only had one disc (for those reading in 2016, see wikipedia), which was The Hundred-Foot Journey. You can’t watch a food movie on an empty stomach, so we braved the cold and headed out for some grub.
EF is getting nice and fat off that mommie milk, but we made it to Saffron Indian Cuisine. We had been to the previous restaurant in the same location, and found Saffron to be at least as good, if not better than its predecessor. The decor is unchanged, there seems to have been little staff turnover, and while the menu is different, the food is very good. We had the lunch buffet, but I hear that dinner is also great. My friends over at the NOVA Restaurant Blog had similarly superlative things to say about Saffron.
I’d definitely check out The Hundred-Foot Journey after a nice meal at your favorite Indian or French restaurant (bonus points for Indian-French fusion). It was a great movie, and a great way to end a fun day. As much as EF enjoys walks in the snow and watching the snow fall, I’m about ready for spring.by rsiv with no comments yet
For Marti Gras this year, my mom decided to fix up some gumbo. She’d never done it before, but it turned out amazing.
After dinner we had some king cake (FJ found the baby). We enjoyed the fire, and EF had a very apropos book to read.
It was a great night, but unfortunately, someone had one too many hurricanes.
The next morning was a snow day, so we woke up and had some king cake for breakfast with some chicory coffee.
Even though it was now officially Marteen Gras, it was a snow day, so we went to our go-to snow day place for our go-to snow day meal…
For Marteen Gras, we we went to Chasin’ Tails.
Last year, things got a little cray-cray. This year, perhaps because of the snow day, things were a lot more tame. The restaurant wasn’t nearly as crowded. I have an important meeting tomorrow morning, so I wasn’t too upset that things didn’t get out of control. I’m writing this blog the night of, with a nice cup of ginger tea and some fancy french sea salt chocolates (from my Marteen Gras goodie bag) However, if things aren’t crazy next year, we might have to make Marteen Gras a weekend celebration and bring the party ourselves.
Since we could hear conversation as the restaurant wasn’t packed, we did have a lot of laughs. It was also nice to see my friends so happy and in love (vgtic I know). And as always, the crawfish, gator, and drinks were excellent.
All in all, it was a great Marteen Gras. It was also a great way to cap off HB’s maternity leave. Its a little bittersweet, but I think she’ll enjoy going back to work. EF is a little apprehensive about FJ watching her, but she’ll adjust…by rsiv with no comments yet
Y’all are probably getting tired of how much I post about Gypsy Soul. So you’ll just have to go and drink the kool-aid, or deal. We started off V-Day by making some canapes for my parents to thank them for watching EF while we were out (first time we’ve been out just the two of us since EF was born), and FJ popped some delicious bubbly.
EF was very interested in the tiny bubbles, but LeBeef wouldn’t let her have a sip.
While show the exterior of the restaurant you might ask? Lets call it the before shot.
We started with some cocktails. Mine had a bourbon base, and HB went with one with Bajan rum.
I had a hankering for some fried chicken skins, but we were tempted by the special Vday menu.
I’ll have to try to make my own sage biscuits. They were delicious.
Fois gras is always a good decision.
The ravioli was a rich and decadent as one can imagine.
With the dry aged ribeye, we had a carmenere which was the most delicious fruit-forward iteration of the varietal that I’ve ever had (and I’ve been to Chile).
The steak was tender, rare, and amazing. It was a very generous portion; the picture below is all leftovers we took home.
Despite being full, I enjoyed way too much bananas foster bread pudding. You could really taste the rum and bourbon.
At the end of the meal, we walked out into a blizzard. As soon as we opened the first of the double doors, the snow blew in and the chill cut through us.
I have a great video of HB on a mechanical horse that she’d kill me if I posted. But I’m definitely not above showing you in person, so ask next time y’all see me.
The parking senors got snowed over, which reminded me of my 14 hour drive from Montreal to VA in a blizzard last year.
Gypsy Soul really delivered again, and the wife and I had a great Valentine’s Day.by rsiv with no comments yet
We still haven’t gotten over our freedom to go to restaurants kick. We had some margaritas at El Tio’s while discussing how FJ would watch EF (or vice versa).
EF got the, “best passport photo ever!”
We tried out The Locker Room. The Old Bay wings aren’t half bad.
After way too many wings, a huge plate of loaded fries, and more than a couple beers, we enjoyed the sun and an unseasonably warm February afternoon.
I found out that Sweet Rice has pork belly kapow… Insanely delicious. It might be a limited time thing, so I’d get over there asap.
EF got a very generous valentine’s day prezzy from a secret admirer (who turned out to be Thom).
On the Friday before vday we went to La Caraqueña. EF got to meet Raul, but did not enjoy her first shot of tequila.
Nascar is back. And finally, EF got a vday prezzy from daddy (because her future is so bright).by rsiv with no comments yet
After Del Campo, we’ve been on a going out binge. After having to stay in so long, its been nice, but exhausting to get out. We got some breakfast at Ohop. Always on point. And the bacon. Dang.
We did a little mobile bird watching.
HB had her first steakumms and loved them.
We met HW, Li, and VA for some plazatime. I had as many ounces in one glass as EF drinks in a day.
We went to Anthony’s with the parents. I enjoyed a mythos and ordered my usual: pizza with bacon, jalapenos, and gyro meat.
Then Christine threw a soup party. The highlight was definitely the black bean butternut squash chili. Jes. The cornbread was also really good.
I brought some DC United beer in honor of the upcoming season.
We played some heads up and trivial pursuit.
I was surprised by how much I liked yogi ginger tea. I need to get some.
Then we went to El Tio for some jumbo margaritas (all lime no mix), and some good food. EF was jelly of our margaritis.
We also heard Nilda got a new whip. Congrats on the 52 Chevy.by rsiv with no comments yet