Tag Archives: philadelphia

Good-bye 2012, Hello 2013!

At the beginning of this year, I listed off some 2012 goals for Fifth Floor Kitchen- and looking back I think we did pretty good!  I’m so humbled and proud of this little space we have created, and since I’m feeling a little nostalgic about 2012, I wanted to share a handful of favorite highlights from this past year.

2012 Top 3 Recipe Posts:
1. Indian Chicken Soup
Indian Chicken Soup

2. Vegetable Coq au Vin
Vegetables au Vin with Coq 2

3. Seasoned Popcorn 2 Ways
Popcorn 2 ways

2012 Top 3 Travel Posts:
1. Bonn, Germany
2. Boston: Sam Adams Brewery Tour
3. Warsaw, Poland

Other 2012 Highlights:
1. We got married!  We had a wonderful wedding near Charlottesville, VA (check out our posts about this great city here and here) and we spent an amazing honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand (blog posts: Pt 1, Pt 2)!

2. Where else did we travel? Boston (Posts: 1, 2, 3), Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

3. Food-wise some of our personal favorites were: Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Pairing, Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese, Birthday Fruit Tart, Crunchy Fish Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce, Brazilian Fish & Shrimp Stew, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, S’more Cookie, and Buckwheat Crêpes with Corn Salsa.  If you haven’t tried these, definitely add them to your “to-do” list for 2013!

3. Other fun stuff: Eat Write Retreat Blogger Conference, Slave-free Tomato Day, Holiday White House Tour, An Edible Mosaic Book Launch, and being part of the Food Matters Project.

4. We also started a series “Monthly Reviews”, a great way to see some of our iPhone photos and adventures we might not write about: May, June, July, August, and November.  A December one is coming up soon!

Over the course of 2012 we have had 116 posts- that’s a lot of words, photographs and recipes!

But I do love the feeling of a New Year- a fresh start, being able to look ahead towards all the new opportunities this year will bring.  We are looking forward to 2013 to continue sharing our culinary and travel adventures with you all- remember to keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!

We wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!  Thank you so much for reading, commenting and being part of Fifth Floor Kitchen!

Warm wishes for a happy new year!

Many hugs,
Evi & Sam

Evi & Sam Wedding

*Our wedding photos were taken by our friend Meaghin Kennedy- check out some of her photos here, or her blog: These Salty Oats

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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.

WH 14

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!

Philadelphia, PA

As I mentioned in a recent post, Sam and I visited Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago!

The reason behind this trip was run the Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.  The run was planned for Sunday, September 16- so with some friends we decided to make a weekend getaway in Philly!  Five of us ran the race (there were 3 first timers that did fabulous) and we had an amazing cheerleader/photographer!

Truth be told, we really didn’t do much research on what to do and where to eat in Philly.  So we walked around, explored different areas, and ate some great food!

Philly is best known for its cheesesteaks, and we definitely wanted to try some.  Now for those that are not familiar with it- it’s a combination of frizzled beef, onions and cheese on a roll.  The cheese used is usually provolone, American, or Cheese Whiz (most popular)- and everyone does have their preferences.

Since we didn’t do much research about this, we asked for some recommendations in a bar and ended up going to:


Jim’s Steaks!  The original shop, owned by Jim, opened up in 1939 in West Philadelphia.  The location where we stopped by was on South street- the 2nd location which opened up in 1976.  The four of us chose and shared 2 different cheesesteaks:

And:

We also enjoyed great German beers at Brauhaus Schmitz:

This place had an excellent German beer selection.  Sam and I recognized many beers from our trip to Oktoberfest last year.

The next day we stumbled upon the Reading Terminal Market– which we all loved!  If any of you are visiting Philly, definitely stop in here!

It was established in 1892 at 12th and Arch Streets, and is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmer’s market.  There is a variety of cuisine available, from soul food and Asian food, to Philly Cheesesteaks and traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fare.

On Saturday morning we enjoyed a perfect breakfast sandwich from one of the Amish merchants:

The Amish bring their farm-fresh products (meats, milk, eggs, etc) and distinctive dishes to the market 4 days a week (Wednesday thru Saturday).  Today the market has about 80 different merchants, of which 2 are descendants of the original stand holders from when it originally opened.

The rest of the time we spent enjoying the great sights of Philly and the wonderful weather we had that weekend!

Where else did we stop in?
Lulu’s Pizza Bar: quick by-the-slice pizza bar
Pietro’s Pizza: great pasta/pizza location for carbo-loading before a 1/2 marathon, also very family friendly Italian restaurant
McGillin’s Olde Ale House: great place for a beer; oldest continuously operated tavern in Philly

Food Matters Project #28: Lemon Cornmeal Cake

A little late here with my Food Matters Project post, but better than never, right?  And this is a good one to keep in your back pocket, a quick dessert- perfect to make before friends stop by for a mid-week dinner.

This weeks host is Jen, of Prairiesummers.  She chose Mark Bittman’s Apricot Polenta Cake.  Check out her version, and what everyone else made here.

I was very excited to make this since I’ve been saving a very similar recipe from A Meandering Mango.  When I was making this, I decided to take a little from both recipes and make my own version.  Mine tasted very similar to a lemon bar, refreshing and light.

This cake is a perfect way to celebrate a little milestone in our house!  This past weekend we visited Philadelphia, and ran the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon!  It was Sam’s first half, and he had fun doing it!  I’m very proud, and excited that there will be another race in the near future!

Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg. 560) & A Meandering Mango

3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
juice & zest of 1 lemon
juice & zest of 1 lime
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white all-purpose flour
1/2 apple, slices*
2-3 fresh figs, finely chopped*

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Spray your baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (or use butter or olive oil).

In a stand mixer whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes, until fluffy and creamy.  Slowly add in the olive oil, lemon and lime juices, lemon and lime zest, and vanilla extract.  Lightly whisk the ingredients together.

In a small pot, mix together the cornmeal and salt.  Then whisk in the water, until it is lump-free.  Set the pot over medium heat, whisk frequently and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, and cook until the water is absorbed.  Then set aside and allow to cool.

Stir in the flour and cornmeal mixture into the mixing bowl with eggs and sugar.  Stir well, then pour into the sprayed baking dish.

Arrange the apples and figs on top of the cake.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the cake.  Allow to cool about 15 minutes before cutting it.

*Other alternatives for toppings or frosting: fresh berries, fruit soaked in liquor or honey, ground nuts or coconut, powdered sugar or a honey drizzle!  Be creative, and let me know what worked!

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

Happy New Year Everyone!  Thank you for all of your support with this blog in the last year, it has been wonderful to document all of our culinary adventures.  We’re looking forward to a delicious 2012!

In the week between Christmas and New Year’s there is a relaxing pace in all of our lives.  People aren’t stressed at work and are enjoying the extra time with family and friends.  We have more time t0 read, sleep and relax.  I always look forward to this quiet time of the year.

In year’s past, Sam and I have gone out to a nice dinner on New Year’s Eve.  This year was similar, but rather than going out, we had two of our friends over for dinner.  While Sam had made the entree (filet mignon, roasted broccoli, shrimp and grits), our friends brought over a cream cheese soup and poached pears with cardamom cream (both were finger licking delicious- I can’t wait to try out both recipes).  It was a peaceful evening: wonderful conversations, mouthwatering food and amazing company!

Everyone has a list of resolutions as a new year begins.  There is something nice about starting with a fresh, new calendar.  Rather than resolutions, I make goals.  I was thinking about the goals I had for this blog, for our kitchen, and I decided to write them out for all of you to see them- then you can hold us accountable!  (these are in no particular order)

1. Make more breads from scratch.  Although we had made some breads (Double Rise Wheat Bread, Dinner Yeast Rolls), I’d like to make them more often, rather than buying.  This includes making bagels from scratch, it’d be a fun weekend project.  Any recommendations on good bread books?

2. Make more pasta from scratch.  Takes times, but it’s well worth it.  Any good recommendations for pasta cookbooks?

3. Try to make some Polish dishes, for example I’d love to make pierogi’s or gołąbki.  I’ve seen my mom make them, and they taste significantly better than store-bought.

4. Have less kitchen waste.  For the most part, I think we’re pretty good, but I would like to have a compost pail.  The problem is that I don’t know where we could drop off our compost (here in DC)- anyone have any ideas?  It’s definitely something I’d like to look into.

5. Take a food photo class.  As we make more recipes, I want them to look as appetizing and gorgeous as they taste!

6.  Try making a yogurt or cheese from scratch.  I’ve seen kits to make various cheeses- has anyone ever tried it?  If so, I’d love to hear recommendations!

7.  Travel more!  I actually make this a goal every single year, but it’s a good one to keep reusing.  What does it have to do with food?  You get to try new dishes, new flavors and enjoy every single bite!  Although it’s only January 1st, we have a couple of trips planned, they are:
a. Boston, MA
b. Charlottesville, VA
c. the Outer Banks (NC)
d. honeymoon (TBD- we’ll keep you updated, but it’ll be someplace warm!)
e. Philadelphia, PA
So if you have any suggestions/recommendations for things to do, places to visit, or foods/restaurants to try, we’d love to hear them!

8.  Grow our readership and community!  Check out our Fifth Floor Kitchen Facebook page!  We hope to do some updates to the blog, which is a day by day learning adventure.  Remember, we’d love to have feedback if you’ve tried a dish, made changes to a recipe, if you have questions or just want to say hello!  The three favorite blog posts from 2011 were: Blueberry-Rhubarb Crumble, Zucchini Enchiladas and Carmel, Pretzel and Nutella Bars (so if you haven’t tried one of these- definitely make them soon)!