Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mosaic District: True Food Kitchen

2910 District Ave #170
Mosaic District
Fairfax, VA

After all of the hype surrounding True Food Kitchen I finally made it there the other night with my friends Teddy and Sam. True Food Kitchen is a health-focused restaurant that feature dishes that abide by Dr.Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet I've been hearing about ridiculous wait times, and Sunday night when I put our names down we were quotes 50-60 minutes but it only ended up being about 30.

Teddy ordered The Peacemaker $13 buffalo trace bourbon, averna, honey, lemon, heavy brewed black tea and I had the Ginger Margarita (shown below) $13 gran centenario, st. germain, ginger agave, flamed orange. Both drinks were original and fantastic.

Based off the reviews on yelp and the recommendation of one of the bartenders the Edamame Dumplings $9 were a must order. Filled with edamame in a broth with white truffle these were spectacular. A firm believer in (pan)fried dumplings I was able to get past the softer texture because of the complex flavors.

Last minute Sam decided to order the Albacore Tataki $12 – not knowing at all what it was. I figured it was some sort of rawish tuna (I was right, it is slightly seared), and yes, I ate it – a few bites in fact. I’m getting much more daring with trying things. This was good, but not stand out.
I ordered the Teriyaki Brown Rice Bowl with Steak $16 (can also come with tofu or chicken). This was good and exactly what you would expect of a brown rice and teriyaki bowl – absolutely no surprises. The steak was cooked perfectly and there were no weird bits (which is crucial) and the overall dish was very plentiful. While I ate the majority of it, my bottomless pit of a friend ended up polishing it off for me. 

Teddy ordered the Miso Glazed Black Cod $25 which he enjoyed but thought there should be a little more substance to the dish. I snuck a bit of the fish and it was cooked well, but agreed that if you are getting this for a meal you need a little starch or carbs. Sam ordered the Panang Curry with Shrimp $17. He thought this dish was just ok and the potatoes and rice were a little undercooked.
Everyone has been raving about the Squash Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream $7 so that was a must order for dessert. If you are a lover of pumpkin pie then you will love this. The boys loved it while I thought it was good, pumpkin pie isn’t my thing though. However the coconut whipped cream was fantastic. We also decided to try the Flourless Chocolate Cake (GF, VEG) $7 made with 72% Cocoa, Vanilla Cream, Almond Butter and Caramel. This was the cake of my dreams. A chocolate molton cake with caramel oozing out. Serious Perfection. Funny story, Sam decided to take a break when there were only a few bites of dessert left…he went for the chocolate and I had finished it off so he started to reach for the rest of the squash pie, which Teddy quick shoved the last very big bite (like 3 bites worth) into his mouth. If you snooze you lose, especially with dessert.
Our servers were nice, but actual service was a little spotty. They don’t bring you water unless you ask for it – and are quite bad at keeping it refilled. The food was good – there were a lot of Asian influences on the menu which was a little unexpected, but I guess originating from the West Coast it makes sense. If you are looking for a healthier night out where you can have drinks, appetizers, entrees and desserts without feeling like a blob this is the place for you. We all enjoyed everything, and agreed, while the food was good – there is no rush to come back, especially if there is an hour wait.

Would I come back? Probably (the food was good, but I am a pretty good cook and can make certain dishes that I enjoyed at home pretty easily), if I do, it will most likely be for drinks and appetizers/desserts. I would be more inclined to come back if they took reservations or there wasn’t such a long wait all the time. 

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ovvio Osteria : New Fall Menu

2727G Merrilee Drive
Merrifield, VA

Four appetizers + four salads + five pastas + three entrees + one pizza + three desserts + four glasses of wine = one fantastic new fall menu (and and even better thursday night!) at Ovvio Osteria. While everything was quite delicious, I've narrowed down a few favorites in each category for you. 

Starting off with the most important thing, drinks & happy hour. Ovvio Osteria has a pretty kick ass happy hour - even including $4 off their cocktails - which based off the one I tried and my dining companions tried is something that needs to be taken advantage of. It's very rare that restaurants offer a deal on any of their specialty cocktails
Out of the appetizers I really loved the White Bean Hummus $9 stewed white beans, roasted garlic, olive oil, balsamic drizzle served with grilled bread. This was incredibly smooth, flavorful and creamy. Pairing with the grilled bread intensified the flavor. Initially I was a little worried that this would be too beany like other versions I've had, but this wasn't the case at all. My other favorite that was the Mozzarella in Corrozza $10 house made mozzarella, brioche, roasted tomato salsa, salsa verde. Umm, hello - fancy grilled cheese as an appetizer. Sign me up. This was amazing and cheesy. Don't fear the salsa verde - it's an Italian verde, made with parsley and basil and other Italiany things. 
Ahh Pasta, how I love you so (excuse the photos, it was dark in the restaurant at this point in the night). Depending on your personal tastes you should be happy with any pasta here. My personal favorite was the Bucatini All'Amatriciana $18 (bottom left). It's a smokey and slightly spicy tomato sauce tossed with homemade pasta - perfection in a dish. Also, I deserve some bragging rights for trying the ravioli you see below - it was made with Veal Sweet Bread. If you can get past the sweet bread part, it really is quite a delicious dish. 
A self-proclaimed pizza expert I can vouch for Ovvio's dough and sauce. We tried a special of the night which was delicious (I also tried a breakfast pizza for brunch and the quality is consistent).  
If you are trying to cut carbs some, there are a couple of delicious options. My personal favorite was The Grilled Hanger Steak $25 carbonara onions, roasted new potato cake, rosemary sauce. The steak was cooked perfectly (which is quite clear looking at the photo below) and the sauce was the perfect accompaniment. The carbonara onions on top were a different, but very nice addition. If you are not a meat eater or looking for something a little lighter then the Grilled Wild Salmon $24 is the perfect option. Salmon is one of the few things from the sea that I will eat and Ovvio's version of salmon was delicious
Now, I normally don't go for dessert after having this complete of a meal but Ovvio offers sorbets and gelatos...and like my uncle says, you always have room for ice cream, it fits in between all the food in your stomach because it melts. There are usually 3 different sorbets and gelatos offered each night and are the perfect option for a little nightcap. 

Would I come back? I have actually been here for brunch 3 times in the past month or so since my original visit! I have not been back for dinner - but it will have to happen in the near future. 

Brunch Take 1
Brunch Take 2

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Ovvio Osteria on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Revisit: Brunch at Ovvio Osteria

2727G Merrilee Drive
Merrifield, VA

My friends love a good brunch as much as I do. After writing about a recent brunch at Ovvio Osteria and their dollar mimosas my friend Nadia suggested that we spend an afternoon enjoying their mimosas. Since my original visit I have been back two times (dollar mimosas outside of DC is VERY appealing to people). Plus it's very metro accessible so if you live anywhere near a metro - you should check this place out with their mimosa deal! 

One visit a few friends and I decided to split the Sour Dough Pancakes $14 as an appetizer. Best decision ever made. These pancakes were fluffy and lemony and just perfect. The blueberry compote and ricotta infused with honey was the perfect topping. I could eat these all day every day and still think about them every once and awhile. A word of advice, these are super filling and heavy. Be prepared to be stuffed. 
Because I have been here a few times, I/my friends have gotten a chance to try a lot of the menu. Nadia ended up getting a sausage panini which she said was delicious (their sausage is delicious here). She appreciated the greens on the side. Another tried the Carne Frittata $16. I have tried the veggie and the carne frittata and they are both are a little bland for my taste. Even with the addition of the meat, the eggs still needed more flavor.  Up next is the Pancetta Pizza $16 white pizza with pancetta, ricotta, egg and arugula. I prefer my pizzas with sauce so I got some on the side, but this was delicious on its own. They have the crust and quality toppings down. Not shown, but ordered was the Ovvio Breakfast $18 2 eggs any style, potato cake, toast and sausage or bacon. My friend said the eggs were cooked well and everything looked good, but this dish is a bit on the pricey side for what it is -$18 for 2 eggs, a little potato and some meat - expensive compared to the quantity of the other menu offerings. 
For one of my visits I decided to retry the Parmesan Biscuits $14. They have switched this dish up a little since I originally had it. Last time I only got one biscuit with an egg and gravy - this time they gave me two. As I commented last time they still need to work on poaching their eggs and adding a little more sausage gravy. My only other suggestion would be adding something fresh on the side, like mixed greens or fruit or something along those lines to take away from the heaviness of the dish. 
Service is still really lacking here. The servers don't have attitude but they are pretty much non existent. The second time back it was a pain trying to get refills on our mimosas. I've noticed that servers seem to hang out in the kitchen a lot - not sure if they have something they need to be doing in there or it's just where they wait? The third time back it seemed our server was in a rush to get us our check on an almost empty restaurant - perhaps it was the end of his shift? Both times the server never asked us if we preferred bacon or sausage with our meals (for those that came with it) or a biscuit or toast - something else that needs to be worked on. 

Would I come back? Yes, it's a good alternative to going into DC and with it being so close to my house it really is a good option. Plus those pancakes. Service needs to be seriously worked on as I have gone here 3 times in the past month (wow - being less then 10 minutes from me is very appealing) and I have had similar experiences each time. 

Ovvio Osteria on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blaze Pizza

One of the best opportunities this blog has presented me with is the opportunity to meet and chat with restaurant owners and chefs. It’s such a diverse field and I love being able to see what drives each individual and what the really love about being in the kitchen. 

I was recently given the opportunity to sit down and chat with Chef Brad Kent of Blaze Pizza. Along with learning about his fascinating background and passion for food, I also learned all about the heart and soul that Chef Brad put into creating the perfect formula for pizza here at Blaze. 
Chef Brad is involved with every step of the pizza making process - every little nitty gritty detail. Starting with the crust, which he describes as "delicate with a crunch." Taking inspiration from the way the french make baguettes combined with the ratio of the way the Italians make pizza he created a formula for the perfect crust. As far as the cheese, sauce and olive, Brad makes sure that the people who provide the ingredients are passionate about their product and that they love and respect every part of the process. 
A couple of fun facts I couldn't resist asking Chef Brad. 

Best thing I ever ate: An oyster poboy with creole, tomatoes, hotsauce and fried oysters at a Jazz Fest in Nola. 
Go-to Pizza topping: Arugula
Craziest Pizzas Made: Persian – chicken kubideh, saffron potatoes (tadeek style), marinated cucumber salad, shallot yogurt and sumac / Southeast Asain – shrimp, panang red curry, dressing of lime, chili and fish oil finished with crispy shallots
Key Kitchen Tools: Microplane, Nice Blender “you can do anything with a nice blender” 
Key Kitchen Advice: “Don’t be afraid of the heat” and emphasizes the importance of searing – “don’t touch the food until it is ready- listen to your food, it will tell you when it is ready” and“If food comes out bad, don’t always blame yourself, it could be a bad recipe”

We ended up trying three pizzas – I left it up to Chef Brad to decide and we tried the Simple Pie, BBQ Chicken (grilled chicken, mozzarella, red onion, banana peppers, gorgonzola, bbq sauce drizzleand the White Top (white cream sauce with mozzarella, applewood bacon, chopped garlic, oregano, arugula). Being the purist that I am – my favorite was the Simple Pie or Margherita (which if you want it the way I had you will have to give them instructions – but it will be well worth the effort). Surprisingly the BBQ came in at a close second. I say surprisingly because of my strong dislike for gorgonzola but it was put on sparingly which gave it a slight tang that paired perfectly with the drizzle of BBQ.
I also got to sample the s'mores. If you choose to get one of these delicious bites make sure you ask for them to heat it up so the chocolate and marshmallow gets gooey and delicious. What makes these stand out is that instead of graham crackers Chef Brad decided to used digestive crackers which go amazingly with chocolate (I spent a summer abroad eating these for breakfast everyday…whoops)!
Don't worry - I didn't forget how to tell you how to ask them to make the Margherita pizza. To start off you need to ask them to take 1 1/2 halves of mozzarella and ask them to break it off around the pizza. Next ask them to put dollops of red sauce on the crust. Then sprinkle some parmesan on top and put basil leaves around the pie. If you are feeling it you can have them sprinkle some oregano on top and then thats it! Be prepared for amazingness. 

Would I come back? Yes - pizza in 4 minutes? Delicious - I recommend the Margherita but I'm interested in trying their spicy tomato sauce next time!

7101 Democracy Blvd
Besthesda, MD
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 2014 Goals

One of my fav blogs  has been posting monthly goals lately and I thought it would be fun/beneficial to do that too!

1. Go to a pumpkin patch/apple picking/some sort of fall festival.
2. Make a few different apple recipes (other than crisps – I make that all the time because it’s easy and delicious)
     Caramel Bars with Crumb Topping (except add apples! even if it will be messy)
     Apple Cheesecake Bars
     Apple Coffee Cake (can you tell I like crumb things?)
     Apple Butter
3. Learn how to cook and like winter squashes – butternut, spaghetti, etc. 
     Butternut Squash Soup
     Roasted Butternut Squash
4. Work out at least 4x a week. I always end up doing two weeks on one week off – so what I really need to do is work on consistency. 
5. Blog at least twice a week. Since I got a new job about a year ago, it’s become a lot harder to maintain the blog but I think I am getting back on the right track!

Do you have any fall goals??

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