Boqueria Bottomless Brunch

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! The weather was absolutely gorgeous this weekend and my on regret is not spending more time outside!

One of my all time favorite weekend activities as a DC resident? Brunch.

People who don’t live in DC are mystified by the our brunch obsession. From brunch buffets to bottomless mimosas, there are countless options for a Saturday or Sunday early-afternoon affair. But my personal favorite is the all you can eat small plates option which you can find at most Richard Sandoval restaurants, particulary Masa 14 and El Centro. Endless food and beverages for just $35? Sign me up.

Boqueria, the newest tapas-centric addition to the DC food scene, finally caught on and is now offering an unlimited tapas and drink menu for brunch on Saturday and Sunday for just $35. I love Boqueria. I’ve only been a handful of times, but every visit is better than the last. The food is consistently delicious and the bustling atmosphere is lively and social. I’d highly recommend the brunch as many of the items on the unlimited menu are from Boqueria’s daily menu.

Patatas bravas (photo from Boqueria)

I recommend the pan con tomate (bread with tomato, garlic and olive oil – simple but oh so good!), tortilla espanola (a spanish omelet of eggs, potatoes and spanish onions), espinacas a la catalana (sauteed spinach with garbanzos, pine nuts, garlic and golden raisins), bambas (beef and potatoe croquettes) and slateado de setas (sauteed wild mushrooms, manchego cheese and thyme). I can’t recommed any of the traditional brunch dishes since I haven’t eaten them, but the pancakes and Huevos benedictinos have my mouth watering; not to mention the dessert items – a selection of churros and flan. To wash all that delicious food down, choose as many beverages as you like from four types of sangrias, a mimosa or a draft beer.

In case you still aren’t convinced you need to pay a visit to Boqueria, I’ll leave you with some food for thought.

Photo from Boqueria



District Dining: BLT Steak

In my mind, a special occasion calls for a special meal. I used to work around the corner from BLT Steak and would, on special occasions, allow myself to split an impossibly delicious $18 burger with my friend Kelly. Yes, it really was that good.

I taunted my husband with tales of truffle fries and Gruyere cheese popovers until he couldn’t stand it any longer,and so it was the restaurant of choice for our one year anniversary. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself, remembering the warm, cheesy, buttery goodness of the popovers and questioning how a burger could taste so good.

We were seated promptly for our 6:30 reservation on a Monday evening, which was not surprising considering we were one of 2 tables. Our waitress was wonderful and extremely knowledgeable; the service throughout the entire meal was impeccable and the General Managers came by our table several times just to make sure we were happy.

The meal began with bread, bread and more bread. First, we were treated to pate with crunchy country bread. Then came the popovers, oh the popovers! Served with sea salt and a touch of butter, these are hands down one of the best food items ever created. BLT provides the recipe and while I have made an excellent attempt at re-creation once or twice, they never taste quite as good as the ones coming out piping hot from BLT’s kitchen.


Our entrees followed – the dry aged 20 oz bone-in NY strip for the hubby – filet mignon for me. Both were sensational. My filet came out under-cooked (I’d asked for medium well and it was still moo-ing), but the server was very apologetic and the general manager, Adam, brought it back cooked to perfection.

The hubby’s gi-normous steak!

For sides, we chose the creamed spinach, stuffed mushroom caps and potato gratin. I know creamed spinach doesn’t sound all that appetizing, but wow, I could eat BLT’s version for every meal. The stuffed mushroom caps were good as well, but next time I would get another potato dish. Not that the potato gratin wasn’t yummy, we finished the whole thing; it’s just that everything else was on a completely different level of deliciousness.


Just when we thought we’d died and gone to foodie heaven, not believing it was possible to fit another thing in our stomachs, they began describing the dessert menu. Holy sugar rush. The lemon cheesecake proved too tempting, so we broke down and ordered it, despite the fact that there was an entire tier of our year old wedding cake waiting at home for us. Yeah, we didn’t think it sounded too appetizing either.

Much to our surprise, we were presented with not one, but two desserts, simply because they thought it was necessary for us to try both! As we alternated between spoonfuls of caramelized lemon cheesecake drizzled with huckleberry sauce and peanut butter chocolate mousse, we both agreed we’d just enjoyed the best meal of our lives.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse with Banana Ice Cream
Caramelized Lemon Cheesecake with Huckleberry Sorbet

Does Halloween count as a special occasion…because I seriously don’t know how long I can wait to go back.


Kinkead’s: Restaurant Week Review

As I mentioned a few days ago, I decided to try out a tried and true DC establishment for Restaurant Week, Kinkead’s.  To be honest, I hadn’t really heard much about Kinkead’s but booked the reservation because it had availability for 5 on short notice. Once reserved, I took a glance at the menu online and was instantly convinced the opening was a stroke of good fortune. I was salivating.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by gracious hostesses accompanied by the soft serenade of a piano. We climbed the large staircase to get to our table, taking in the decor which would leave any five girls feeling like they were encroaching on a secret meeting at the Old Boys Club.

Considering I’d already taken a look at the menu online, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the entire menu was available as part of Restaurant Week – a rare find! Usually, you have a very limited selection of courses on a Restaurant Week menu. All of the dishes sounded so appetizing the waiter had to give us some guidance to help us reach our final decisions and I finally settled on the lobster and shrimp bisque, cod and chocolate lava cake.

The lobster and shrimp bisque by far the best bisque I’d ever had, impossibly creamy and robust with crunchy brioche croutons. This picture just doesn’t do it justice.

I also sampled the squid and the tuna soup and what struck me as the most impressive was the different types of flavors of each dish, they ran the full range of Italian to French to Asian – and they were all absolutely delicious.

For an entree, I ordered the North Atlantic cod with crab imperial,  ham and scallion corn bread, sweet potato puree, and a mustard cream sauce. It was so enticing, I didn’t even have the patience to snap a picture before digging in. Trust me, you’d do the same. The portion size was perfect, the crab imperial was flavorful without overpowering the dish, the corn bread was salty and sweet and perfectly complemented by the sweet potato puree. I should mention that about halfway into this course, I was stuffed despite the smaller portion size. My girlfriends got the salmon, softshell crab and scallops and everyone was extremely satisfied.

Then out came the chocolate lava cake. It was tasty, but was not on the same level as  the rest of the meal. Let’s face it, it’s chocolate so who is gonna say no but the best part was the caramel ice cream. I did have the self restraint to take a picture for this course though, mostly because I was so full.

All in all, we were a very satisfied, very full group. I’d recommend Kinkead’s to anyone looking for a nice, upscale dinner out. The wine list is very expensive, the cheapest bottle will run you $50 and glasses are $12 or more. So, if you’re looking to dine on a budget, lunch is your best bet, particularly since they are extending their Restaurant Week lunch menu through August 24th. Book your reservation now, you won’t be disappointed!


Fashion + Food = What more can a girl ask for?

For me, this week has inched along about as slow as the Kardashian-Humphries divorce proceedings. Seriously – you were married for 72 days, why do you feel the need to make the divorce process 5 times longer than the marriage?

Ah, but I digress. Perhaps this week has been so long because I’ve been looking forward to today since LAST week! I’ve got a busy evening ahead of me with two events in Georgetown and a dinner with girlfriends for Restaurant Week. Talk about the highlight of my week!

I’ll be headed to Madewell’s Styling Session in Georgetown from 6:00-8:00 pm to check out the new fall collection! You can find more details on the event’s Facebook page, but here is what you need to know:

  • Get styling advice from Madewell’s expert staff
  • Donate a pair of jeans and you’ll get 20% off your jean purchase
  • Liking your looks? Tweet or post pictures of your styles tagged with #mixwellwithfab for a chance to win a Madewell gift!

I have my eyes on the Ardot Blazer ($138) – the perfect edition to any Fall wardrobe!

After Madewell, I’ll mosey on over to Gap for Refinery29’s Modern Vintage Mashup to meet their local editors, peruse the new merchandise and style it with some of Refinery29’s vintage pieces and of course, sip on cocktails! I’ll also be scoring 30% off of any regular-price item and be entered to win one of three outfits from Gap styled by Refinery29. I’m thinking it might be the perfect time to pick up some colored denim or one of these adorable pencil skirts.

Once I’ve shopped ’till I dropped, I’ll get my eat on at DC-staple, Kinkead’s. The Restaurant Week menu is positively mouth-watering and I can’t wait to try it!If you haven’t taken advantage of Restaurant Week yet, there is still time! Book through OpenTable and check out Washingtonian’s Restaurant Week tips if you’re a first timer!

I’ll give a full recap of all events, purchases and food eaten but if you’re interested in either of the events, register using the links above! Maybe I’ll see you there!


District Dining Review: Toki Underground

DC is full of swanky, trendy restaurants. The types of restaurants that charge $15 for a cocktail and make you feel as if you should be honored to be allowed through the doors to dine in their fine establishment, even after waiting hours to get in. Yes, there is no shortage of such places to dine in our fine city. Yet, everyone once in awhile, a fantastic restaurant on the other side of the spectrum opens its doors. Delicious food, great service, reasonable prices and some good old fashioned character are the staples of Toki Underground, H street’s Taiwanese-style ramen shop. The only thing Toki has in common with those swanky joints is the wait – and that is because the entire place only seats 30-ish people and the food is just THAT good.

Toki is an unassuming, second-floor eatery complete with Japanime art, skateboard footrests and red paper lanterns. The drinks are creative, most featuring various types of sake and the menu is limited and so is the seating. You can choose from five types of dumplings and five types of ramen noodle dishes. Initially, you might feel constrained by the limited menu, but trust me, order some of each and you will understand why Toki helps narrow your choices. They stick to what they do best and boy, do they do it the best!

We chose to dine on four types of dumplings, beef, pork, chicken and seafood, and the Toki Hakata Classic Ramen Noodle Soup. Every dish we got just kept getting better than the one before it. The dumplings were full of juicy flavor and lightly friend to perfection. The ramen soup was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. The broth is bold, flavored from the pork and boiled egg. If you like your dishes spicy, order a side of kimchee or some of the Toki Endorphin Sauce, their homemade Sriracha sauce.

One of our many orders of dumplings from Toki.

Of course, if you’re going to dine authentically, you have to drink authentically too. We sampled three or four different sakes. All of which were excellent. The servers and bartenders are extremely knowledgeable, so don’t be afraid to ask them for a recommendation. If you’re in the mood for something light, sip on the Pizzacato Five, a mixture of Shochu (a Japanese clear distilled spirit likened to vodka), grapefruit, ginger, juice and soda water.

We were way too full for dessert, but the dishes were enticing. As we left, there was a line around the block of people waiting to enter to sample some of Toki’s fare. So, when you go, go early and be prepared to wait a bit, just in case.

Here’s what you need to know:

1234 H Street, NE (above The Pug)
Washington, DC 20002 
Click for Google Map


S,M,T,W: Food 5p-10p / Bar: 5p-2a
TH,F,S: Food 5p-12a / Bar: 5p-3


Tequila, Tequila!

It seems quite fitting that my 100th post on this blog should be about celebrating!

Get out your sombreros and call the mariachi band, it is National Tequila Day! Anyone can appreciate a day dedicated to such a polarizing alcohol. After all, tequila is cursed by some, loved by others and feared by many. Songs are dedicated to it and many a bad decision has been blamed on it. Ahhh, yes, tequila.

If you are of the tequila aficionado crowd, you’ll want to check out Bandolero, El Centro and El Chucho.

Bandolero’s house margarita comes on tap!  (image courtesy of Bandolero)

Mike Isabella’s latest endeavor, Bandolero, is encouraging you to bring a partner in crime to participate in the celebration. All tequila drinks are buy one get one free! With more than 40 tequilas to choose from, you and your buddy are sure to find at least one you will enjoy – probably a little too much! The special lasts from 4:00 pm until close, so get there early to get the most for your money!

While El Centro isn’t running a tequila special, it would be a crime to not encourage a tequila lover to visit DC’s premier tequileria. El Centro offers guests a choice of more than 200Tequilas & Mezcals. For National Tequila Day, they are boasting more than 250 types of tequilas! The restaurant runs a regular Taco Tuesday special, so you can also nosh on $2 chef’s choice tacos all night to help counteract the effects of that tequila.

(image courtesy of El Chucho)

El Chucho, Columbia Heights latest addition, is throwing an all out fiesta featuring a private label Tequila, Tequila Real. Be amongst the first in the US to try this tequila, with $4 shots of Tequila Real Blanco, and meet the importer who is a local resident. Being a guinea pig not your thing? Sip on $5 margaritas or one of the other 100 tequilas on El Chucho’s menu at 20 percent off!

If you’re part of the tequila fearer crew, but never one to miss out on a celebration, feast on some good Mexican cuisine at one of these locations:

Either way, enjoy…and I hope you wake up without a hangover!



Pacifico Cantina

As you might remember, I mentioned that I spent my 4th of July celebrating in a few Mexican eateries, one of which was Pacifico Cantina. A relatively new location on Barrack’s Row, Pacifico Cantina is a little taste of Tex-Mex north of the border. Boasting only fresh, never frozen mexican cuisine from executive chef Saul Canesa and visiting Texas-native chef, Ben Berryhill, Pacifico serves up traditional fare including tacos, quesadillas, burritos and made-to-order guacamole.

The interior bar at Pacifico (image courtesy of Pacifico Cantina)

We arrived late in the afternoon last Wednesday and were greeted with a bustling bar and an interior with so much color that it might have been held hostage by a Lisa Frank designer. Strangely enough, it works with the otherwise bare teak wood bar. Securing some seats, we immediately ordered a round of mango beergaritas, aka a corona bottle turned upside down in a glass full of mango margarita. In theory, this is amazing, in practice, the mango and corona were not the best pairing of flavors, but still enjoyable enough for me to finish the whole thing. We then moved on to some guacamole, chips and salsa and quesadillas, as they are half price on Wednesdays. The guacamole was tasty, but the quesadillas were the scene-stealers. Within our group, we had one each of the chicken, wild mushroom and shrimp quesadillas and everyone was raving about them! My husband was less than satisfied with his burrito, but tried one bite of my chicken quesadilla and his faith was restored. We of course went for some more margaritas, but the good old-fashioned traditional kind, on the rocks. We did notice the margaritas ordered from the downstairs, inside bar which much tastier than the ones ordered from the rooftop bar.

Oh, that’s right, I failed to mention the rooftop BAR, Pacifico’s most appealing feature!

A view of Pacifico’s rooftop (image courtesy of Pacifico Cantina)

Outfitted almost exclusively in teak wood, the rooftop transports you to some tropical locale so effectively you almost forget you are sandwiched in between two buildings. There are plenty of high-top tables scattered between a large communal table which is the focal point of the rooftop, featuring a bubbling fountain at its center. The 103 degree temperatures were almost bearable as we watched the sunset over Barracks Row.

All in all, I’d highly recommend checking out Pacifico Cantina. The food is good, but the drinks, novelty and quite frankly, darn well-done rooftop are even better reasons to make the trip to Cap Hill. I’d recommend heading over on a Wednesday to enjoy the half price quesadillas, which are delicious!

Other specials include:

  • Sunday – half price sangria and nachos
  • Monday – half price tacos
  • Tuesday – half price margaritas
  • Wednesday – half price quesadillas

It is a great place to go before or after a Nats game, too!


Cinco de Mayo Plans?

The DC food truck scene has exploded as of late. Head over to Farragut Square any time between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm on a weekday and you’ll have no shortage of epicurean options to satisfy your taste buds. DCers Twitter feeds are inundated with updates on the latest location of Curbside Cupcakes, Fojol Brothers, and how could we forget Jose Andres’ Pepe. Sure, it’s a trend, but one that my inner fat kid can totally get on board with.

So, you can imagine when I heard that all of DC’s best food trucks would be in ONE LOCATION for 8 hours, I got just a little excited. Then I found it was at RFK Stadium and got a little less excited. However, I don’t think I can pass up the opportunity to enjoy all the DC food truck scene has to offer in one fell swoop at the Curbside Cookoff: Trucko de Mayo. Can’t resist either? Here are the details:

When: Saturday, May 5th (TOMORROW) from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm

Where: RFK Stadium, Lot 3 (Closest lot to the Metro), 2400 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

What: 40 of DC’s yummiest food truck vendors in one place accompanied by live music. Admission is free, food is not. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase and you can participate in a sweepstakes to win a free pass to a meal at every DCFTA food truck (Man vs. Food anyone?). 

How to get there: The closest metro is Stadium Armory on the Orange/Blue line (but be careful of track work this weekend!) and parking is free in lots 4 and 5.

Photo courtesy of DC Food Trucks

I’d recommend bringing some cash in case some of the food vendors don’t take credit card. You don’t want to be left salivating at this event, folks! Hopefully I’ll make my way over there, but I have a very important meeting with a rooftop in Dupont, some margaritas and some great friends earlier in the day. Who knows how long I’ll be detained…


Calling all Foodies and Winos!

The majority of my friends could be classified in either one of these two categories. They are in luck – they can nourish both tendencies this weekend at the 12th Annual Washington DC International Wine & Food Festival! Some of the culinary world’s top names will be exhibiting. Wineries, distilleries and unique food vendors will be hocking their goods and putting them on display for attendees. Taking place at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center (1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW), you can work off all the calories you’ll consume from the tastings just by walking from one end to the other!

The Wine & Food festival kicks off tonight with a “Sommelier Showdown” and the fun continues throughout the entire weekend. Tickets for tonight’s event are pricey and hard to come by as only a select few are released to the public. For $150 per person, buyers will get to watch as top metro-area sommeliers compete to see who can identify wines with mystery labels.

Friday’s event, “Cupid’s Not Stupid, Cocktails to Fall For,” held at Aria Pizzeria (housed in the Reagan Building), will pit the city’s top mixologists against one another as they compete to make the best cocktail. For $55, the audience will get to watch on and sample their creations, along with some light snacks, beer and wine. The mixologists are:

Gina Chersevani
Rachel Sergi, Jack Rose Dining Saloon  
Ben Wiley, America Eats Tavern
Youssef, J & G Steakhouse
Dennis Burns, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

And, on to the main event! Grand Tastings are on Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm and provide access to 500 “rare, unique and loved wines” from wineries across the globe. Sample food from international artisans and, of course, the city’s best restaurants! You’ll leave full, happy and armed with a brand, spankin’ new wine glass courtesy of the DC International Wine & Food Festival. Ticket options include $145 for both days or $85 for Saturday and $80 for Sunday. Sure, it ain’t cheap but sometimes it is ok to shell out to culture yourself a bit!

Seriously, what else are you doing this weekend? No, getting a head start on your taxes does NOT count! Surprise your hunny with an early Valentine’s Day date or just enjoy some quality time with good friends by switching it up a bit!  If you plan to go to the Gilt City Warehouse sale, then you have a reprieve. Otherwise, get your butt down there and get a real taste of DC!


Party Planning Superbowl Style

What a game, right? Talk about the longest minute of your life – I wonder what Tom Brady is thinking right now. At least he has Gisele to wipe away his tears! Can’t win them all, my man!

At our respective places of viewing, I’m sure we all noticed the Superbowl spreads. Football is synonymous with many things; beer, wings, burgers, nachos, insert any fried food here. When throwing a superbowl party, guests expect great football, great friends and, of course, great food!

I was fortunate enough to attend a party this evening that did not disappoint. The menu consisted of hoagies, finger foods, chips, salsa, taco dip, buffalo chicken dip and, my personal favorite, some old school dirt. The dessert kind, not the garden kind. Want some more yummy superbowl party suggestions? You’re in luck – I’ve posted some ideas below that will leave your guests – and your bank account – full and happy! Check them out!

Chips and queso are always a hit! Check out this recipe from Food.com.
Buffalo Chicken Wings courtesy of Food Network's Alton Brown
Meatballs and bbq sauce? Why not?


A good old fashioned hoagie can feed tons! You can be creative with your fixins' so guests can make custom sandwiches
A Superbowl isn't complete without chili. Do double duty with this menu item and throw it over some tortilla chips, add cheese and some fixins, bake for 10 minutes and you've got yourself some nachos!
Beer is always a must, but surprise guests with a signature drink!

Just a few ideas courtesy of Food Network, Food.com and Martha Stewart. Add in some storebought items like salsa, assorted chips, hummus, and a veggie platter and you are no longer in danger of throwing a boring bash!


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