Saturday, December 10, 2011

Weekend Full of Fun Food in Washington, DC!

Just last weekend I got to head down to Washington, DC for a long weekend visiting good friends! One of my favorite parts of city-hopping on weekends is getting to check out new restaurants and to cook with friends I'm visiting! I got to both of these this past weekend - as well as re-visit some old restaurants I loved when I lived in DC. Of course, all of this is better when you get to enjoy good food with good company, so thanks to all my friends down there for a fabulous weekend away!

Friday I dragged my friend to Nando's Peri Peri near Dupont Circle - this delicious Portuguese chicken place that I discovered last summer. They also recently opened a 2nd location near Chinatown - so I guess other people have discovered them too! They have different spice levels of their chicken and you have all kinds of options - from salads, to wraps, to roast chicken dishes with sides. Lots of options for everyone - and while I usually go for their mildest chicken it still has a ton of flavor.
This time around both my friend and I ordered the butternut squash and couscous salad with the chicken on top, with a side of grilled pita - oven roasted butternut squash and red onion with olives, grilled corn and couscous, served with their house dressing on a bed of greens. Even at peak lunch hour on a Friday we didn't have to wait long and by the time we put our order in there was a table ready for us. We both were impressed with how organized they were.

After walking around Georgetown we worked up an appetite for our next food stop ... yes, you guessed it, frozen yogurt!! This was one of my favorite parts of DC last summer - unlike in Boston, they have places where you can serve yourself from a myriad of yogurt flavors and toppings! FroZenYo is our favorite place and there are tons of places all over the city!
Last stop of the evening, post National Zoo Lights, was Ella's Wood Fired Pizza near Metro Center/Chinatown. A long list of individual pizzas with all kinds of delicious combinations - and a yummy glass of sangria to top it off! I ended up going for the Pucillo - tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, prosciutto, and fresh arugula. It totally hit the spot and with individual size pizzas ranging from $10-$14 the prices are reasonable. We called ahead to put our names in for a reservation, which was helpful, since it was a Friday night and the place was super busy, so I would recommend making a reservation if you think of it in advance.
After two quick trips to Whole Foods, my friend made me crepes for breakfast on Saturday morning! Delicious - and I never think to make crepes for breakfast, great idea.
They even got a pan specifically for making crepes from their wedding registry - and we filled with lots of fresh fruit - strawberries and bananas! Topped with whipped cream and cinnamon - perfect start to our day!
I have so many people I wanted to see while I was in DC so I organized a happy hour at Zengo, near Chinatown/Metro Center on Saturday night. I've actually been to the other Zengo, in Denver and really enjoyed it - so I was excited to get to another Richard Sandoval restaurant. Even better - DC has Happy Hour specials, unlike Boston!
I got a couple Mojito Pina's (pineapple mojitos) which were on the sweeter side and delicious - and just $5. Amongst the 10 of us we probably tried one of each of the nine happy hour appetizer specials. The crunchy calamari salad tasted great - and I think was one of my favorites. The pork-mushroom gyoza were also yummy - and the arepas were good, but I probably wouldn't order them again. I just love the idea of being able to share small plates, pick at food, and share fun drinks with friends.
I have to admit too that a couple of us stopped for frozen yogurt afterwards on the way home. Fro Yo #2 - yes please! This time I was good and just got fruity flavors and toppings with a little granola. Delicious. Me and my sweets - I wish I didn't have such a sweet tooth sometimes!
Sunday morning we slept in, ate breakfast in and headed to Dupont Circle for the farmers market going on there. I was impressed that in December there was such a big farmers market going on - all kinds of local produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods. I picked up some rosemary italian rolls to go with dinner, a sweet potato to make mashed sweet potatoes and carrots that night, and my friends tried homemade empanadas. Add in some great weather and it was a lovely morning.
Last but not least, I capped off my nice long weekend by cooking dinner for my friend and her husband. I love cooking so after eating out a bunch all weekend it was nice to cook in. I decided to make Chicken Cordon Bleu, mashed sweet potato and carrot, greens, and green beans.
I hadn't made chicken cordon bleu in so long - and I forgot how much I liked it - pretty simply pounded out chicken breasts stuffed with swiss cheese and ham, breaded and baked. I tossed the greens with lemon juice and olive oil, just steamed the green beans - and for the mashed sweet potato and carrot, steamed both together until they were soft, mashed together with butter, milk, garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon and a little greek yogurt. They were a little chunkier than usual since I didn't have a masher but I think they still came out pretty good! Plus I was able to provide my friends with leftovers to bring to work for lunch!

So thank you to everyone who hosted and spent the weekend with me! I hope to be back soon!

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