Tag Archives: Virginia

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

Eggplant Greek Wraps

The weather has cooled off and we’ve been able to open our windows.  Not just during the night, but also throughout the day- enjoying the light crisp air. Fall is here.

If you have never experienced fall in Virginia, you’re missing out.  It’s a beautiful area for color changes on trees, sunny crisp weather- perfect for wine tastings or apple picking.  The beauty of it all definitely swayed us into choosing a fall wedding- great excuse to enjoy the scenery.

So with a wedding just around the corner, it’s a bit busy in this household.  Just last minute things, but it’s those little activities that turn out to take some extra time.  These days our lunches and dinners are simple- something that doesn’t require too much time or thinking.  But we would still like to eat healthy, enjoying the last of summer harvest and the start of fall flavors.  I love this time of the year- a perfect transition of my two favorite seasons.

This is a meal that you can take with you on a weekend picnic, or just a quick mid-week meal that you can enjoy.  Eggplant is fantastic with Mediterranean flavors- light, but filling.  Just grab a glass of wine and enjoy your surroundings- watch those colors change!

What is your favorite season, or time of the year?

Eggplant Greek Wraps
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times (June 2000)

1 eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup chopped tomatoes
30 kalamata olives, halved
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.  On a cookie sheet spread out the eggplant and 3 minced garlic cloves.  Then pour over the olive oil and sprinkle the dried basil, salt and pepper.  Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together.  Bake for about 30 minutes.

In a large bowl mix together: eggplant and garlic mixture, the additional 3 garlic cloves, tomatoes, kalamata olives, cucumber, red onion and parsley.  Stir all of the ingredients together.

Charlottesville, VA cont.

Charlottesville Weekend Part 2 (to check out what we did on Saturday)!

We woke up Sunday morning and although it was a bit chilly out- we went for a run around the UVA campus.  It was so pretty, we ended up walking through and taking some pictures later in the day.  It’s definitely a bit hilly, but it makes for a good workout!

UVA is a public university founded by Thomas Jefferson, and established in 1819.  UVA was the first university that offered specializations such as astronomy, architecture, botany, philosophy and political science.

This is the Rotunda on a beautiful sunny day.  The library was housed in the Rotunda until a fire destroyed the building in 1895.  It was rebuilt twice since then, the second time it was was changed to Jefferson’s original design.

Jefferson’s orginal design revolved around the “Academic Village” which specified the stretch of lawn and the student rooms on both sides.

We walked around a bit and took some pictures, enjoyed the weather and imagined how gorgeous it is here in the fall.

We also stopped by for brunch at Boylan Heights for some brunch.  Although we came to this place for brunch, it actually prides itself on being a gourmet burger restaurant.  The place is very relaxed, with extra seating upstairs.  When we were here there was a mix of college students as well as families with kids.

Although I have not tried the burgers (we’ll have to do this on the next trip down), Boylan Heights gets its beef from organic farms in Virginia.  All of the beef is supplied through The Organic Butcher (traditional butcher in Charlottesville), ground daily and is hormone free, antibiotic-free and grass fed.  You can build your own burger, or try out one of the one’s which they have noted on their menu.

Sam ordered the Eggs and Toast, with a side of the Housebrowns.  The Housebrowns were definitely rich, but so good.  A different and delicious spin on hashbrowns.

The other side you could choose were grits, so I ordered those so we could swap and share.

I ordered the Egg Benedict- the Garden.  It had an english muffin with a poached egg, spinach, mushrooms, black bean corn salsa, goat cheese and a chipotle hollandaise sauce.

I think we’ll have to try making our own hollandaise sauce one Sunday morning.  This was delicious.

After we finished eating, we needed a little walk in order to digest our food.  So we walked around for a bit before getting into our car.

As we walked on Main Street, we saw these adorable pups outside one of the shops:

Isn’t that the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen?!?  I wish our cats would cuddle like that.

We enjoyed our weekend trip to Charlottesville, and have already made plans to come back in the spring or summer.  I’m looking forward to sitting outdoors on the Pedestarian Mall, or walking through the beautiful campus!

Charlottesville, Virginia

For the long Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, Sam and I went to Charlottesville, VA.  We left DC on a chilly Saturday morning and headed south.  Some of our friends went to UVA and we’ve been wanting to explore this college town.  For the latest restaurants and fun things to do, I reached out to a fellow food blogger, Kath from Kath Eats Real Food.  She has a great Charlottesville page– with descriptions of places to check out.

We spent Saturday afternoon walking around the Pedestrian Mall on old Main Street.

There are many restaurants, boutiques and shops.  Walking from the west to the east end, we browsed around and checked out some storefronts.

At the east end of the Pedestrian Mall there is a Charlottesville Community Chalkboard:

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression was created so members of the public may express their views on any subject that they choose.

I have yet to see a spot like this anywhere else, so it was cool to check out and read what others have written!

Our first stop was Skybar.

We wanted to check out Commonwealth (the connected restaurant below) but it wasn’t going to open for another 30 minutes.  So we walked upstairs to find a covered bar (with heaters), I’d love to hang out at this place when the weather is nice.  Both of us tried new beers, shared a cured meats plate and some truffled fries:

This is a Blue Mountain Kolsch from Afton, Virginia.  Both of us really liked it, so the next time we’re in the area we’ll definitely have to visit this brewery.

The next place we checked out was Miller’s, it’s known for Dave Matthews starting his band- Dave Matthews Band– while working here as a bartender.

It’s a great dive bar, with a large beer menu (this is only 1 side of the list):

There are many choices, one of the one’s we tried was:

It’s Sixpoint Craft Ales brewery from Brooklyn, and they have a number of different beers.  If you ever see it on a beer list- definitely give this one a try!

And to fill us up, we got a giant nacho plate- although it was the 1/2 order (also known as the 54 1/2 nachos).  I’m glad we didn’t order the bigger one, since we didn’t finish this one!

By then we were tired after a long day, and decided to head to our hotel.

Good-bye Miller’s!

In the next post we’ll share what we did on Sunday…

Fall weather & activities!

When you get a chance, check out and Like the Fifth Floor Kitchen Facebook page!  You’ll know of new blog posts even faster!

I hope all of you have gone apple picking or carved pumpkins.

And if you’re living in the DC area- wine tasting!

I’ve been lucky enough over the last couple of weekends to do a little bit of everything.  Fall is wonderful in Virginia, leaves turn wonderful colors and the weather is perfectly crisp.  Is it like that where you live?

It’s always fun to carve pumpkins…

…and then eat the seeds!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds*

olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  After taking out all of the pumpkin seeds out of the pumpkin, rinse them off.  Then spread them out on a cooking sheet.  Pour olive oil over the pumpkin seeds, and mix it together so each seed is covered with olive oil.  Then sprinkle salt and pepper over the pumpkin seeds.  Mix all of the ingredients together once more.

Bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Keep checking on the seeds, once they are golden brown they are ready.  Take them out of the oven and let them cool off.  Enjoy!

*There are no specifics for this recipe.  This all depends how many seeds you have and how much salt/pepper you like.