Tag Archives: Washington

DC’s Union Market: Rappahannock Oyster Bar

I’m probably one of the last people to explore Union Market.  A big thanks to Alix for taking me there one spring Sunday afternoon.  That day we walked around, explored and then we enjoyed a sandwich from The Red Apron.

Since that afternoon I’ve been wanting to go back and check out the Rappahannock Oyster Co.  Upon my insistence, and his love for oysters- Sam agreed to go!

First a little history.  Rappahanock River Oysters can be traced back to 1899.  James Arthur Croxton, Jr. purchased 5 acres of land near the Rappahanock River near Bowlers, VA.  Today it’s led by his great-grandson’s, Travis and Ryan Croxton; the company also expanded- located in Butylo, VA on over 100 acres.

The 3 types of oysters sold at Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Union Market are:

Union Market: Rappahanock River Oysters

Rappahanock River Oysters

  • from Topping, VA
  • salt range: 13-17
  • sweet, buttery full-bodied taste

Stingray Oysters

  • from Ware Neck, VA
  • salt range: 17-22
  • quintessential Chesapeake Bay oyster, sweet & mildly briny

Olde Salts

  • from Chincoteague Bay, VA
  • salt range: 28-33
  • taste like the ocean, briny

We did order additional plates, since this is more of small-plate restaurant.

Union Market: Rappahannock Oyster Bar

Lots of delicious dishes to choose from.  In addition, there are a number of great drinks, local beers and specials.

Union Market: Rappahannock Oyster Bar 2

Since we’re still on the search for the best Bloody Mary in DC, we had to try this one.  Definitely towards the top range of the one’s we’ve tried- extra spicy, just like we wanted!

Union Market: Rappahannock Oyster Bar 3

Other than the oysters, we split 2 small dishes:

Union Market: Rappahannock Oyster Bar 4

This was the Tuna Tartare, with limes, chilies and Thai basil.  It was light and refreshing, a perfect pairing with the crispy bread.

Union Market: Rappahannock Oyster Bar 5

We also shared the Crab Cake with celeriac remoulade.  Someone had told me that they thought this might be the best crab cake in DC, and I will have to agree!  Delicious!

Union Market: Rappahannock Oyster Bar 6

This was a great Sunday early afternoon outing, and I can’t wait to come back for more oysters!  Afterwards we stopped by to pick up pickles from Oh! Pickles.

Where do you go for oysters and crab cakes?  Would love to hear recommendations!

Food Bloggers Against Hunger: Cheesy Egg Muffin Sandwich

This past summer, with the help from Nicole of The Giving Table, bloggers joined together and dedicated their posts to fight for slave-free tomatoes.  After posting a Gluten-Free Tomato Tart last July, we were asked to participate in the Food Bloggers Against Hunger event.  Of course, we couldn’t wait to participate!

Nearly 1 in 4 children in America lives in households that struggle to put food on the table.  Millions of Americans who participate in the nation’s food stamp program are limited to an average of $4 per person, per day to supplement their food budget.  As a result, they struggle with hunger at some point during the year.  Rates of food insecurity are substantially higher than the national average among households with incomes near or below the federal poverty line, and among households with children headed by a single parent.  In Washington D.C., 30.7% of children experience limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods at some point during the year.

For a little homework, we watched A Place at the Table.  It’s a documentary that examines hunger in America by focusing on 3 families which struggle to put food on the table for their children.  It discusses how U.S. government subsidies favor products that require processing (e.g., soy beans, wheat, and especially corn) over fresh fruits and vegetables that can be consumed with little or no processing.  As a result, the most affordable food is often calorically dense, processed food, lacking nutritional value.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s food stamp program, is at risk for severe cuts that would impact millions of families and children who rely on school meals and food stamps to survive.  A number of anti-hunger organizations: Share Our Strength, Bread for the World, Feeding America, The Food and Research Action Center- are asking supporters to spread the word.

Our nations policies need to change in order for this problem to be solved.  Here are a few ways you can help and participate:

1) Send a letter to Congress asking them to support anti-hunger legislation.  The more letters we send, the better.  Send this letter, it’ll take less than 30 seconds to fill out.

2) Go see A Place at the TableScreenings will be held in select cities through mid-June.  You can also view it on iTunes and Amazon.  Spread the word on what you have learned from the documentary.

3) Volunteer with Share Your Strength‘s Cooking Matters program.  The No Kid Hungry campaign educates and empowers low-income families to stretch their food budgets.

The documentary points out that many children and adults do not have access to low-cost, healthy breakfasts, and many go to school or work without eating anything.  With that in mind, Sam and I decided to post our favorite breakfast- it’s easy, fast, healthy, and low-cost.  Over 200 bloggers are participating in this event, check out what recipes others have posted.

I stopped by a local Safeway to pick up food for our breakfast, and to make sure we were on budget:

 Old Tyme English Muffins: $1.29 for 6; $0.22/English Muffin
 Lucerne Grade A Eggs: $2.49 for a dozen; $0.21/egg
 Lucerne Extra Sharp Cheddar: $4.39 for 16 oz; $0.27/ounce
 Green Onions: $1.39 for a bunch (approx. 8); $0.17/onion

Total Cost for one Cheesy Egg Muffin Sandwich: $0.87

 Total Calorie and Fat content per sandwich:
 Calories: 341*
 Fat: 17
*We used unsalted butter, but feel free to substitute with cooking spray.  We are assuming that everyone has one of these two items in their kitchen.

Cheesy Egg Muffin Sandwich

Cheesy Egg Muffin Sandwich
A Fifth Floor Kitchen blog
Servings: 2

2 English Muffins (preferably whole wheat)
2 eggs
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 tsp butter or cooking spray
1-2 green onions, chopped
2 oz cheddar cheese, sliced or shredded

The trick with making omelets is to use a smaller pan, so that the omelet has enough depth to allow for folding over.  An 8-inch, non-stick pan is perfect for this.

While cooking the eggs, toast 2 English muffins in a toaster.

Crack two eggs into a small bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper and beat with a fork until well incorporated.  Coat the pan with butter or cooking spray, and put it over medium heat.  Once the pan is hot, pour in the scrambled egg mixture.  Sprinkle green onions on one half of the egg mixture, wait until it begins to firm up.  When the omelet is firmed up, and only slightly liquidy on top, add the cheese slices on top of the green onions.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold the omelet in half.  Turn the stove top off, wait for about a minute to allow the cheese to melt.  Then cut the omelet in half, and serve each half on an English Muffin.

Food Matters Project #36: Dal with Lots of Vegetables

To make it 3-in-a-row, yesterday was another gloomy Monday.  Last week we made the Provencal Pasta Sauce to keep us warm and toasty.  But yesterday it wasn’t just rain, there was even a little bit of snow on the ground here in DC!

Snowy Day

Yes, we got snow on March 25th, it must be a record.  Fortunately, today it’s sunny and getting warmer by the hour- I think everyone is ready for spring!

Yesterday’s Food Matters Project recipe was perfect for a gloomy day.  It was chosen by Anita, of Cooking Poetry.  She hosted Dal with Lots of Vegetables from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out her blog and the Indian feast she had made- I’m a little jealous, everything looks delicious!  There are also other versions of the meal from other FMP participants here.

I’m a huge fan of Indian food, thanks to Sam.  He introduced me to the spice  soon after we started dating, and I have craved this cuisine ever since.  My favorite reason behind it is because you can make most of the dishes vegetarian, and not feel like you’re missing out.  Slow cooking the lentils and vegetables gives them extra flavor and fills you right up.

Want to try some of our other Indian creations?  Golden Red Lentil Soup; Indian Chicken Soup; Indian Chicken Curry Wrap; Baingan Bharta; Curry with Vegetables; Samosa Casserole; Spicy Veggie Lentil Curry.

Dal with Lots of Vegetables

Dal with Lots of Vegetables
Adapted from: Food Matters Cookbook (page 362)

Feel free to swap vegetables for what you have on hand- for example, I’ve had half a bag of green beans I’ve been needing to use up.  If you don’t want this dish to be as spicy, don’t use the jalapeño or chili powder.  Not into a deep curry flavor?  Just halve, or quarter, the Indian spices. 

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 jalapeño, chopped
1/2 head of cauliflower, florets & stems cut into small pieces
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 cup green beans (I used frozen)
2 cups fresh spinach
3 cups of water
1 cup dried brown lentils
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Punjam Red Tandoori powder
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Add oil to a large pot, and allow to heat up.  Then add the onion, allow to simmer until the onion is translucent.  Next, add in the garlic and ginger and cook for about 3 minutes.  Then add in the rest of the vegetables: jalapeño, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini,  green beans, and spinach.  Cook the vegetables, while stirring, for at least 5 minutes.  Then add in the water, lentils, curry powder, garam masala, Punjab Red Tandoori, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Stir all of the ingredients together, bring to a boil.  Then turn the heat to low and simmer for at least an hour (up to 2 hours).

Serve over rice, or with a piece of naan.

DC: El Chucho

Since we’ve moved to a new neighborhood, we’ve been doing some exploring for new restaurants, coffee shops and stores.  As many cities around the world, I love that DC has a variety of pockets, providing us with different communities, restaurants and vibes wherever you explore.

A little less than 2 weeks ago, it was a beautiful (and warm) DC Sunday.  Sam and I love restaurants that have outdoor seating.  You have a different perspective, and there is the bonus of people watching.  As we were walking towards the Columbia Heights area, we noticed the El Chucho had some open outdoor seating and our tummies were grumbling, so we decided to check it out.

El Chucho 2

This has been on my list to try since the New Columbia Heights Blog mentioned their new covered roof deck and the amazing Monday Happy Hour.  I hope these photos might entice others stop over.

El Chucho
3313 11th Street NW
Washington, DC 20010

El Chucho 1

A lot of the dishes on the menu sounded really good.  I will note, we did not order one of more popular items (a good reason to come back).  One of the top dishes is the corn- Elote Callejero.  It’s a “street-style” corn on the cob, covered with chili, cilantro and cotija cheese.  Sounds and looks delicious!

El Chucho 3

We started off with some chips and salsa.  Now there is a serious lacking of good salsa in DC (or if you have found it, please let me know the secret!).  But I was pretty satisfied with this one, it’s got notes of cilantro, a tad bit of spiciness and the chips were fresh.

El Chucho 4

Of course, beers were mandatory.  It was a sunny and beautiful day, there is no reason not to enjoy a good beverage.  Sam tried a new beer- Chatoe Rogue, from an Oregon brewery.  There are a couple of local beers on tap, some microbrew bottles, and plenty of margarita flavors for everyone to enjoy.

El Chucho 5

What did we order?

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I got the Torta Ahogada, with a side of gloves!  What’s inside?  It’s got marinated ground pork shoulder in adobo sauce, black beans, Chihuahua cheese, onions and avocado.  The sauce covering this sandwich is a smokey arbol salsa and cilantro.

El Churro 6

I won’t lie, that’s probably one of the messiest sandwiches I have ever ordered.  I ended up using a knife and fork.  But it was delicious- and very filling (there were plenty of leftovers).

El Chucho 8

Sam ordered this behemoth of a sandwich, Cemita Classica.  It. was. so. big!  And delicious, I liked his choice a tad bit more (just a smidge).  Cemitas, sandwiches originating from Pueblo Mexico, were noted to be one of the new trends 0f 2013- I’m glad to finally have a chance to taste one.

El Chucho 9

Between the freshly baked bread, was a piece of chicken milanesa, black beans, onions and adobo sauce, to make a very filling sandwich (even Sam had leftovers!).

I’m sure we’ll be back to El Chucho, since I do want to try the corn, as well as the margaritas.  If anyone stops in and finds a perfect dish, definitely let us know!

Sesame Seed & Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

So there is an explanation why Sam and I have been doing a little less cooking…we’ve been busy packing!

Our exciting news is that we’ve sold our condo, and we’ve bought a new home!  We’re still staying put in Washington, DC- but we’re moving to a new neighborhood.  The best part is- our kitchen is getting bigger & brighter!  We’re both very excited for improved photos, how far we’ve come since the start of the blog!

We’ve been packing and trying to clean out our cupboards the last couple of weeks, so we have less to move.  One of the things I had made were these “clean-out the cupboards” chocolate chunk cookies.  They’re a little different- a bit of a nutty flavor from the sesame seeds, and a little extra salt from the soy sauce (yes, you read that correctly).  But they were delicious and soft, not just straight from the oven, but also the next day for an afternoon snack with some tea.

What do you like to eat when you’re packing up and moving?  Any ideas of what should be our first home-cooked meal in the new house?

Sesame Seed & Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Sesame Seed & Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from: Joy the Baker

1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp soy sauce
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 3 oz dark chocolate bars, broken into small chunks
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Set up the stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and beat together the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Then add the egg and egg yolk, and beat until fluffy for about a minute.  Next, beat in the vanilla and soy sauce.  Then, add in all of the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and salt.  Beat all of the ingredients until they are mixed well, about 3 minutes.  Lastly, add the chocolate and sesame seeds, and fold together with a spatula.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

Once you’re read to bake them, preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray.  Then scoop out a tablespoon of the dough, roll it into a ball and place it onto the cookie sheet.  Continue to do this until you run out of room on the cookie sheet, or the dough.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges.  Remove them from the oven, let them cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack.  Enjoy!