Peach Pie – Not Good

My husband wanted a peach pie.  Easy – I can make those things all day long and love doing it.  I bought simply gorgeous white Virginia peaches that – well tasted a little flat.  Would not you know… the pie looks gorgeous and has good consistency but, tastes a little flat.  So disappointing but boy did I love baking it.

And, as my aunt and my mom do….. if you have the oven on you might as well make other things as well.  So I also baked banana bread – tried a new recipe with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg.  I got the recipe from an old cooking magazine, I can’t remember which one.  I also baked banana (I store up a lot of bananas in the freezer) oat, chocolate chip cookies.  The cookies were fantastic in flavor – just enough banana but you can clearly last it- the oats added a great heaviness and chocolate in anything takes it to the next level.  The banana bread was fabulous also.  My husband is taking the banana bread to work but we sliced it making it easy to carry and to allow us to eat some – it was relish!  Heavy, moist, banana tasting – will make again.

One Weekend Two Disappointments

Friday night my spouse and I met for drinks and dinner at the Fig & Olive in City Center DC.  I had been there once for lunch awhile ago and had a great dining experience and that does not even include the fact the staff let me sit at the bar and work for about three hours until my next appointment.  But alas… dinner was a disappointment.

The staff was attentive but not overbearing and the outside space was contemporary and comfortable.  The patio is not on any street so you just get the friendly, energetic activities of tourists and rushed DC folks on foot.

The menu is mediterranean focused and has a decent selection.  The wine, beer selection is  nothing special but expansive enough both in price and variety.  I started with an Acai French 75 a cool and refreshing drink of gin, acai vodka and sparkling wine.  My spouse got a cool crisp beer.  We started with a cheese plate – the accompanying bread was grilled a bit but in flavor and texture was not far off from wonder bread.  You don’t get to select your cheeses and the three selections were all relatively strong and creamy – no diversity in flavor or texture.  We also ordered a side of olives – tasty but not outstanding.  They also bring complimentary bread with three types of olive oil.  All three olive oils were just how I love my olive oil – very strong, fruity with a tinge of bite.  It was the best part of the meal.  The accompanying bread was relatively bland.

For the main meal – I ordered the acclaimed shrimp and salmon over an arugula, fennel, onion, avocado salad.  The shrimp and salmon were both tasty and were not over done. But, the salad was overdone with dressing – the greens were drowned to the point I could not even really taste the greens.  Thankfully the dressing doing the drowning – citrus-cilantro was light and carried a great flavor – just way too much.  My spouse got the branzino. Strangely for DC summers – there was a side of mashed potatoes – when its 95 degrees and muggy – who can eat mashed potatoes?  But the branzino was flaky, gratifying and not over done.

We passed on dessert.

Next up for the weekend – we headed to an early dinner at Red, White and Basil.  First, this place could not be any cuter if it tried – little red tables, basil growing in pots all over the place.  They achieved their goal of a casual, welcoming, comfortable place reminiscent of Italy.  The deal is you get a three course meal: salad, pasta (you choose the sauce), and cannoli for around $16-$20.

The sauces are what you would expect: red sauce, pesto, creamy pesto, vodka, spicy red sauce.  You also get to select your salad and can add meatballs, shrimp, lobster, chicken if you want.  They have “specials” which based on the menu I thought were some type of chicken or fish dish – nope more pasta with chicken or fish as part of it.  So, if you want something other than pasta – you are out of luck.

The salad has a good selection of ingredients but was delivered soaking with what seemed to be a balsamic vinaigrette which, although having a great balsamic flavor was a disappointment because I thought the menu said it was a lemon vinaigrette.

The pesto sauce seemed to be creamy rather than straight up pesto and almost had a mustardy flavor rather than basil  but it was  a tasty dish.

The cannoli – was soggy, covered with honey and the inside was very liquidy – it was not worth the calories.

No bread to start with – disappointing love my bread and olive oil.

Wine and beer selection is limited but its OK since the place is really trying to be a casual pasta bar and not some high end italian joint.

The staff was attentive but yanked our plates before we were all done.  Its OK place for  a quick pasta meal but not worth a trip.





Raspberry Jam

Made raspberry jam about two weeks ago with berries my friend picked at his farm.

Bursting with raspberry flavor, a gorgeous vibrant red color, all the “jars” popped so were properly sealed… but…

The jam never really set.  My mom, the maestro of all things food, especially canning -declared:  “That’s what happens when you double the recipe.  Only make one batch at a time.”  And, at one point when my husband and I told her it was not getting thicker the longer I cooked it – that it was getting more watery – she exclaimed:  “Hogwash, that is scientifically impossible – it won’t get more watery the longer it cooks, its just your imagination.”  She was right but it never did thicken.

Remembering back on the first jam I ever made with my husband – we realized we had the luck of the rookie with us – it was perfect and it set.

So… we will just have to do it again – wonderful wonderful moments of making jam with my mom growing up and my husband now.

Athlete’s Need to Stick with Sports

A trip to Joe Theismann’s Restaurant in Alexandria was a disappointment but not a surprising one –  professional athlete restaurant’s are generally not for foodies.  On the plus side, its roomy, great sports photos all over the place (to the point you actually want to stop and stare at some of them), a good place for families with kids (up to and including teenagers) and for folks who are not foodies.

But if your thing is a food – not your place.  First, the menu is basically effete bar food  – burgers, fries, some pastas, steak.  For example, the house salad came out droopy – all of it droopy the lettuce, onions and cukes – droopy.  The blue cheese dressing was so watery I thought it was ranch or something else and, it really only had one piece of actual cheese and not much flavor.

Then the ahi tuna with rice, sugar peas and an Asian sauce – was soggy – all drenched in the sauce.  Now the sauce was flavorful but unoriginal your classic ginger-soy-sesame sauce.  The tuna which was supposed to be rare was as hard as a hockey puck and the rice was basic white and kind of clumpy.  Others got the crab cakes which were a decent size but lacked flavor.  The fries were crispy but had really had no flavor either.

Dessert choices were all standard: cheesecake, bread pudding, molten chocolate and a “grilled” banana bread.  Not sure why one would grill whats basically a breakfasty type bread and serve it with ice cream but it did not taste bad – just nothing unique or to write about. 😉

Wine menu -what you would expect from a chain.

As for service – below average.  The good-the waiter was patient with the big crowd and appeared regularly.  The bad – when he passed out the silverware – he kind of flung it and it bounced around the table.  The weirdest part though was our table was between a wall and a large pillar.  The waitress serving the table next to us, rather than going back to the kitchen via the walkway – decided to try and squeeze herself between the pillar and the chair of one of our guests.  The guest could not scoot the chair in any further to give the waitress room to squeeze by – rather than aborting the waitress got irritated and told the person with great attitude: “I am trying to squeeze by.”  Yes – waitress we – know we saw and we puzzled.

The menu is reasonably priced and there is out door seating.

Joe Theissman’s Alexandria