Category Archives: Washington DC

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.

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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!

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Other than the oysters, we split 2 small dishes:

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

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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!

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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!

Holiday White House Tour

Christmas is just around the corner!  And to get everyone into the Holiday spirit, I thought I’d share some photos from my visit to the White House last week!

About 3 mornings a week I run with Back on My Feet DC (BoMF), it a wonderful organization helping homeless in the city.  Anne Mahlum started BoMF in Philadelphia back in 2007, to help homeless individuals in creating their independence and self-sufficiency.  We focus on teamwork, respect, and running!*

BoMF DC had an opportunity to go visit the White House this December.  Everyone signed up, got a background check and off we went to visit the Obama’s (although they were not home).  I thought you’d all love to see some pictures to get you into the Holiday spirit!

If you’d like, a fellow DC blogger and BoMF runner, also did a post about the White House tour- check out Ericka’s blog and the post!

White House Christmas 1

We entered the White House through the East Wing, where it was decorated with trees and wreaths.

White House Christmas 3

This is the East Landing, filled with beautiful wreaths!  My favorite part of the tour was the wonderful smell of pines- perfect for the holidays!

White House Christmas 4

This was the first tree we got to see.  It pays tribute to the Armed Forces and their families- lots of red, white and blue, in addition to festive ornaments.

White House Christmas 6

This was in the East Garden Room, where the wreaths were made out of gingerbread and there is a replica of Bo, the First Family’s dog!  On one of the trees there are handmade “Boflakes”.

White House Christmas 7

Still in the East Garden Room was this beautiful tree- definitely my favorite!

White House Christmas 5

Through the windows, you could see the lit up trees on the lawn, and the Washington Monument in the background.  What a great view of the Mall from the White House!

White House Christmas 12

This is the State Dining Room, where the official dinners and diplomatic receptions take place.

White House Christmas 13

In the Entrance Hall they had kids from Northfield Mount Hermon School (Gill, MA) singing Christmas carols.

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This was my favorite ornament in the White House.  It was on the tree which is decorated with iconic ornaments that best represent the holiday legacies of the former First Ladies.

White House Christmas 10

The Presidential Seal and American flag right before you exit out of the White House!

White House Christmas 15

Hope you all enjoyed the White House Holiday Tour!

*I’d love to share my BoMF experience with anyone who is interested.  Feel free to email me and I can answer any questions, or get you in touch with someone from the organization!

Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien, a French phrase meaning “the daily bread”, was founded by Alain Courmont in 1990.  He opened the artisanal bakery in Brussels when he was dissatisfied with the bread in the city.  The first café had a long communal table where customers could enjoy a fresh slice of bread with local, organic salads.

Today, Le Pain Quotidien cafés can be found in 26 cities and 18 countries around the world.  The restaurant has a couple of locations around DC, including one which recently opened up in our neighborhood.

What I really like about Le Pain Quotidien is that it tries to source organic ingredients, the menus are seasonal, and its rustic simplicity.  Although any meal can be eaten here, I find that brunches and lunches are the best.  The cafés tend to have a relaxed pace, someplace to enjoy a cup of coffee, read a book, or catch up with a friend.  For those who are looking for a vegetarian or vegan-friendly locales, this is the place to check out!

On a rainy Saturday morning in March, my friend Carolyn and I tried out the new location, and enjoyed some great coffee and food!

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, on a rainy day the best thing is a warm cappuccino.

The level of simplicity draws me to Le Pain Quotidien.  I enjoy the no-frills menu and decor.

What did we order that rainy day?

Carolyn ordered the special: the farmer’s omelette.  It came with a baguette slice, and a salad.  The baguette was delicious, a perfect crunchy crust.

I opted for the organic egg salad tartine, which had capers and anchovies, on whole-wheat bread.

Both dishes were fairly light but filling, I would recommend both.

What else is at Le Pain Quotidien?  You can find: croissants, oatmeal, tartines, quiches, cheese plates, tarts and macaroons.  Grab a friend, order a coffee and just relax the next time a rainy morning comes to town!

Happy Earth Day!  Le Pain Quotidien has teamed up with Stone Barns to celebrate Earth Day (April 22nd).  Stop by a Le Pain Quotidien today for a free packet of basil seeds!