Friday, June 21, 2013

Washington DC: Aria Pizzeria & Bar

I was recently invited to come check out the patio at Aria Pizzeria & Bar. Aria is located in the courtyard area of the Ronald Reagan Building which is right near the Federal Triangle metro stop. They have an impressive patio and for this particular event they had portioned a small part of it off for the attendees. 
Right when we got there we headed to the bar for a drink. The bar service started pretty shaky, the bartender just disappeared for awhile but the issue was resolved later in the night. He was great at remembering orders (he remembered that I favored bourbon). The first drinks we tried were the special drinks of the night...Sunbeam Lemonade and a Blue Cotton Candy Shot-both solid drinks, Teddy really liked the shot. 
They had an outdoor grill set up for the event (I'm told that they do this during lunch during the week, but it's usually hot dogs and such). They had steak, tofu-veggies kabobs, shrimp kabobs and grilled oysters. Everything was pretty good. 
I was really disappointed because Aria is a Pizzeria and I wanted to try food that the actual restaurant offers. Luckily they brought out one pepperoni pizza and one cheese for everyone to try. The pizza was pretty good (I'm still in love with my Tony's and Pupatella).
Overall this was a good experience. I can't really speak for the actual restaurant as this was a special event with food that they don't normally serve. They have live music a lot of nights and during the day and the guy that was playing last night (thursday 6/20) was awesome-it really made the perfect outdoor patio environment. I wish they featured more food from the menu, but I am glad I got to try the pizza-my stepdad works near by and says that he loves the pizza here. 
When I got there and asked what this event was for, I was told it was to show off the patio and it that's exactly what it did. It was a great environment and there were a ton of people around, definitely the place to be on a nice night in the area. Happy hour is from 4pm-close Monday-Friday. 

1300 Penn Ave NW
Washington, DC
Aria Pizzeria & Bar on Urbanspoon

Although I received the food & drinks on the house I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Restaurant Revist: Pete's A Haven Pizza

I guess it is official...Pete's has become a normal rotation for me. I went with another friend this past weekend who had a groupon, contrary to the past few posts, I have gone a lot without a groupon. 

We split a small Bibb and Artichoke Salad $5 bibb lettuce, pea tendrils, grilled artichokes, crispy panchetta, radish, pecorino toscana, sweet onion vinaigrette. A delightfully fresh, light salad. Everything about this was delicious. 
Then a pizza 1/2 veggie (my fav) and the special of the day ricotta, pineapple, salami, cherry peppers, etc. Both were delicious, the chef's specially was particularly good, an original pie. It never ceases to amaze me at how wonderful pineapple pairs with other toppings.
The quality of this place is consistent and it is really good pizza. What more can you ask for. 

Pete's A Haven Pizza
3017 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, VA

Monday, June 17, 2013

Margarita Mondays: Sparkling Margarita

Today's recipe is a simple, straightforward margarita. I'm going through this phase where I don't like buying margarita mix (even though I do love an original margarita). I decided to use sparkling limeade as the base and it made for a delicious, refreshing drink. 

Ingredients (makes 1)
1 shot tequila
1/2 shot triple sec
4 parts sparkling limeade (I used Trader Joe's brand)
juice from 1/2 lime

1. Mix together and put over ice.  Enjoy :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Falls Church: Bamian Restaurant

Bamian Restaurant, a gourmet Afghan restaurant named after Bamian City in Afghanistan is a family favorite. I have only been twice but other members of the fam have been a ton of times. The outside looks a little deceiving but the inside is clean and slightly upscale. 
We sat in an adorable nook, they have a couple along the wall that allow for privacy for diners. They also had a guy playing the keyboard and some other instrument which made for a very nice ambiance. It was not really busy on a Sunday night but this place gets packed so it wouldn't hurt to make reservations.

Aushak scallion-filled steamed dumplings topped with spicy yogurt and meat sauce, sprinkled with mint. This appetizer and the one below are the exact same except for the one below has ground beef mixed in to the middle. I prefer the scallion only one, but both were great. 
Mantu ground beef and scallion filled dumplings topped with spicy yogurt and meat sauce, sprinkled with mint.
Bowlawnee Clay-oven baked pastry stuffed with scallions, choices of chopped leek or potato and herbs, served with a side of homemade yogurt.. This was probably my favorite appetizer. I like how the outer layer was more substantial/solid (then the two above) and the filling was awesome. A lot of people compare this to an empanada but it reminds me more of the spinach pies I can get at Lebanese restaurants. 

Bamian Platter combination of Quabili (seasoned rice with carrots and raisins) and chalau (white rice) served with meat sauce (qurma) and one skewer each of shami, chicken and lamb. This was a ton of food. The chicken and the shami were good, but I was not a fan of the texture of the lamb (not tender enough). I prefer my carbs straight forward so I enjoyed the white rice best while my mom preferred the quabili with the carrots and the raisins. They serve this dish was a bowl of lamb tomato sauce (not shown) which was really good, particularly when you dip your naan in it or pour it over the rice.
Vegetarian Platter combination platter of baunjan (eggplant), subzi (stir-fried spinach) and kadu (sautéed pumpkin) served with nan. I really liked the eggplant (bottom left) and spinach (top) while my mom loved the pumpkin-it was too sweet for me (bottom right).
Quabili Palau Seasoned rice with tender chunks of lamb under a heaping sweet carrot strips and raisins, served with meat sauce (qurma). Jeff got this and thought there could be a little more seasoning but said it was a solid dish.
The service here was great, our waitress was very friendly and informative. All of the dishes were tasty. The vegetarian options have blown all of the other kabob restaurants I have been to out of the water with seasoning and quality.

What makes this place stand out/differ from other Afghan/Kabob restaurants is their extensive menu. There are a lot of good appetizers, vegetarian options and non-kabob dishes. This is a restaurant to sit down and have a lovely dinner to catch up with friends or family. 

Bamian on Urbanspoon

Bamian Restaurant on Foodio54

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Margarita Mondays: Tequila Sunrise Margarita

Ok, Ok...I know it's Wednesday, but I have been sick for the past two days and unable to do a post :( The important thing is I am here now and ready to share a lovely recipe with you all. I decided to make the tequila sunrise drink into a margarita and it was quite lovely. I only mix orange juice with my liquor when I am feeling under the weather and think I need some vitamin C in my diet (yeah I should prob hold the liquor but sometimes a girl just needs a drink).

1 can orange juice concentrate
4 cans ice
1/2 can tequilla (or 1 cup)
Juice from 2 limes
4 shots of grenadine 

1. Put everything but the grenadine into a blender and mix until well blended.
2. Pour into glasses and put a shot of grenadine in each cup. Drink with a straw to ensure you get a mix of both the marg and the grenadine (or else the grenadine will just sit at the bottom the entire time).