Tag 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.

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!

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?


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!

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!

Eat Write Retreat Recap & a Giveaway!

This past weekend I attended the Eat Write Retreat 2012 Conference, which was held at The Madison Hotel in Washington D.C.  This was my first food blogger conference, and I was a little nervous- but I was also excited about meeting some new friends!

I decided to participate in Eat Write Retreat 2012 because I’d like to grow this blog, I’d like to meet other bloggers and hopefully learn new things about the blogging and food community.

The first thing you need to know about food blogger conferences is the swag!  Check out what I brought home:

Most of these things fit into this bag (perfect for grocery shopping!):

I did get a couple more things which did not make it into this picture: an OXO cutting board, a Calphalon Convection Oven and a watermelon!  It’s clear to say that this was like Christmas for my kitchen!

I started this blog as a hobby, and I enjoy trying out new recipes and sharing them with all of you.  It’s inspiring to hear about how many people have a blog as a business, and how much they love what they do!

Of course this conference would not have been as much of a success if it wasn’t for the sponsors!  They were: OXO, Calphalon, National Watermelon Promotion Board, Jarlsberg Cheese, Harvard Common Press, Fresh Mushrooms, Dogfish Head Brewery, Qualia Coffee, Honest Tea, Endives, Lindsay Olives, Barboursville Vineyards, GooGood Clusters, Feastie, Chix DC, and DRY Soda.

Some of the sessions included:

None of this could have possible without the organization and hard work done by Casey Benedict and Robyn Webb.  Thank you!

Check out the list of bloggers who participated in this conference here!

Now it’s time for the GIVEAWAY!!!

Since I came home with a number of goodies, some of which won’t fit into our tiny fifth floor kitchen, I’d like to give some things away.

The first ever giveaway at Fifth Floor Kitchen!  One winner will have a chance to win an OXO Mini Chopper and Goo Goo Clusters Supreme (3 clusters in one box).  *These are items I’ve received at the Eat Write Retreat 2012 Conference, and this giveaway is not affiliated with OXO or Goo Goo.

The winner will be chosen at random, and will be notified by email (please make sure your email is correct)- they will have 3 days to respond to me with their address, otherwise I’ll choose another winner.  (Note: you must have a US address to be eligible to win)

This giveaway is open until Friday (05/11/2012) 11:59:59 EST.

***This giveaway is now closed***