Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DC Recap Tuesday through Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!!

As I explained at the beginning of Friday through Monday's recap, I messed up my camera settings while out of town without my manual! I apologize, again for a) the lack of photos and b) the quality of the photos.

We went to D.C. for two reasons. Reason 1 was Johnny giving demonstrations of a new software program he developed for work so users could understand the interface. Reason 2 was to receive his award! After working at his company for 10 years, Johnny received the Octave DuTemple Award, their equivelant of employee of the year (except they give it out every other year). I was really proud of him and glad that I could go on the trip to see him receive it! His boss wrote a really nice paragraph congratulating him to go in the program. It was also read as his introduction, and is inscribed on his award!

Tuesday's lunch was at the awards ceremony. A (really weird) salad, composed entirely of some green that was sort of like escarole (our table joked it was the landscaping clippings). Next was a (dry) filet with some mashed potatoes, a few veggies, and gravy. Finally was some sort of (room temperature) crumb fruit pie for dessert. I'll just say that my favorite part of this meal were the rolls at the beginning, and I had to feel a little sad for people who choose to have their weddings there if that's the event food. (Did I just type that out loud!?)

All week Nicole from Just Sweet Enough and I had been trying to work out a plan to meet up! Unfortunately both of us had a lot going on that week, plus she got sick, so it never worked out, sadly! She was sweet enough to recommend Lebanese Taverna, a Zagat rated restaurant hailed as being "consistently excellent and authentic Middle Eastern fare," which we ate at Tuesday night with a small group of people who had also been hearing an excited buzz about it. Another cool thing we saw when we arrived was that they offered a gluten free menu! Allergy aware establishments always get bonus points from me!

As a table, we shared baba ghannouge and hommos with fresh, hot, slightly charred flatbread that had poofed slightly as it cooked and released a warm, aromatic cloud of steam when you broke into it. Johnny had mehshi belzeit, vegetables of the day stuffed with rice, tomato, parsley and pine nuts, served over tomato sauce. I believe the veggies were zucchini, and a green pepper. Goran had mouzat, braised seasoned lamb shank over tomato sauce served with burghul pilaf. I had a fish kabob, grilled marinated cubes of fish served with vegetables and special tahini sauce made with almonds and pistachios. This was the BEST rice I've had in my entire life. Even though I was stuffed, I could not stop taking heaping forkfuls. See how it's the weird long, thin strands? Also, the sauce was to die for. I smeared a little bit on each bite of the fish and veggies.

I forget the name of the place we had lunch on Wednesday! We tried one place first, but their wait was really long, so we ended up at the place next door. A coworker of Johnny's has the receipt, and I can't find it on the map! Sorry! Johnny had a turkey burger that he said was really good and moist. Goran and I both had a spinach salad with chicken. It was really flavorful with raisins, nuts, oranges, apples, and a raspberry vinaigrette.

Wednesday's dinner was at Tono Sushi, which features both Japanese and Asian cuisine. We each had some of Johnny's vegetable gyoza to start. I also had miso soup before my entree came.

Johnny had beef teriyaki, which had more of the delicious pickled veggies from the gyoza plate. I might have stolen some! Goran had a plate of sushi, a California roll, Mexican roll, and one other I forget. For round two, he went with an eel one and a flying fish roe one.

I had shrimp and vegetable tempura, yummy yummy!

Thursday we had a late breakfast at Open City Cafe. All three of us had the Open City omelet. Three eggs with hash browns, applewood smoked bacon, and aged white cheddar cheese. It came with a fruit cup, and each of us ordered juice. Johnny and Goran also ordered some of their famous coffee that came in soup sized mugs. I had a few sips of some of Johnny's, but sometimes coffee upsets my stomach and I didn't want to risk it because today was our big sightseeing day!

We saw (in order) the Capitol building, the White House, Washington Monument, WWII Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Monument Wall, Arlington Cemetery (where we saw the Changing of the Guards Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier), and the Jefferson Monument.

Phew! We were beat and hadn't eaten anything but a granola bar since our late breakfast, that morning! We got ourselves back to the hotel, cleaned up, and ventured a little further from the hotel to Las Canteras, a Peruvian restaurant! All three of us were excited to try it, because we'd never had Peruvian food before. Johnny declared it his favorite of the entire week!

We arrived a little after 6, and were delighted to find an early bird special until 7 that allows you to choose an appetizer, entree, and dessert for only $24! There were a few limitations on what you could order, but it was still a killer deal, so none of us minded! We all rotated our plates around the table, trying some of each, but decided we favored the ones we'd ordered!

Johnny's appetizer was papa rellenos, golden potato croquettes filled with a sauté of beef, onions, tomatoes, olives and egg. His appetizer came out a little after Goran's and mine so I forgot to take a picture because I was already eating! His entree was seco de carna, beef stew slow-cooked in a sauce of yellow pepper, paprika, onion and cilantro, served with garlic rice and beans. For dessert he chose flan, but instead of being like a custard, it was almost like a bread pudding - very interesting!

Goran's appetizer was papa a la huancaina, white potatoes topped with a huancaina sauce – a blend of onion, garlic, yellow pepper, cheese and milk, it looked a lot like eggs benedict to me! His entree was lomo sel tado, tenders of prime beef, with onions and tomatoes and crispy French fries wok-fried in a wine and soy sauce, one of Peru’s most beloved dishes, according to the menu.

My appetizer was ensalada de palto y queso, diced avocado, white cheese, red onions and tomatoes with olive oil and lemon dressing, the Chef's family recipe. This was delicious, but I really wished it came with chips, instead of eating it by fork! My entree was aji de gallina, shredded chicken in a sauce of bread, peanuts and yellow pepper. I was intrigued to try this after seeing Rick Bayless make several Mexican sauces using bread. For dessert both Goran and I had a Peruvian fruit mousse. I had originally wanted a rice pudding, but they were out. The waitress told me this was made with flour, so it was pretty heavy and dense. I only ate about 1/3 because there was nothing to break up the sweetness or the smooth texture. It was screaming for crunch!

And that concludes our trip! The next morning, Friday, Johnny and I checked out and headed home, arriving later that night. We had some fast food along the way, so nothing wonderful. Saturday morning we picked the pets up from the boarder and I began to tackle the laundry, grocery shopping to restock the kitchen, and life slowly returned to normal... as will regular food blogging!


A@ Please Don't Eat Me! said...

phew!!!!!!!!! what a great recap! the food looks absolutely awesome!!!
congrats to the boy on his success! does he a get a promotion to match or was your trip out there his gift? lol

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Congratulations to Johnny!!

Gorgeous photos of D.C. - love it there.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!!

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Congrats Johnny on your award!! That's awesome!

I love the re-cap of your trip too. I've never been to D.C!

dlpiano said...

I am SO jealous of all the awesome ethnic food you guys ate!!! I am also SO proud of you Johnny--you are the man:)
Love, Mommy

Laura said...

I think it is basmati rice which is what our Indian restaurant serves it is so good!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Allie (Live Laugh Eat) said...

So weird that all that is in my backyard!! I've lived 3 minutes from Lebanese Taverna and have NEVER GONE!! YIKES!!! Looks like you had a fantastic trip--maybe next time I'll be here!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Johnny! I love D.C. - I lived in Virginia for a year a long long time ago, and loved heading to D.C. on the weekends! :D

Happy Friday!

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

Congrats to Johnny! And such cute pictures :)