A few weeks ago I got an email from Jennifer inviting me to a dinner with Underground Kitchen, a pop-up supper club that originated in Richmond, VA but has since expanded to DC. I excitedly accepted, having heard great things about them from the Post and my friend Marcella who attended a dinner in Richmond a few months ago. This particular supper club is very secretive; you don’t receive the details of the dinner until it’s a few days before and after you’ve purchased a ticket for a certain date and seating time (which usually sell out in minutes). An email arrived with the location and a copy of the menu. After reviewing the lengthy and detailed menu, I realized I was in for a real treat. The menu called for five courses with appetizers beforehand and a dessert afterwards. Each course was paired with wine. Besides these details, I didn’t really know what to expect.
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Like most people living in the metro DC area I have a daily commute that is stressful, rushed, and crowded. Every morning I commute from Virginia through DC into Maryland. In the evening I do the same trip in reverse, and by the time I’ve arrived home I am exhausted and painfully hungry. Sometimes the trip runs smoothly, sometimes it’s a nightmare. The cold snap last week lead to delays as rails broke (unfortunately the end of my line is exposed to the elements and this happens often in cold weather). I didn’t feel that this winter was particularly cold until February arrived. Record lows, snow storms, and travel delays have plagued us in the ill-prepared Mid-Atlantic region….
It seems like kimchi has taken over the world… or at least the world wide web. I grew up eating kimchi as part of my family’s Korean dinner table. Now I try and find any way I can to add kimchi to a dish.
- To start, let’s look at a quick overview on cooking with kimchi.
- Kimchi getting a bit old? Throw it in a pot with pork belly and make some some kimchi stew.
- What’s your comfort food? For many Koreans, especially in my mom’s generation, it’s budae jigae, or “army base stew”. It’s basically an amalgamation of the Korean ingredients you see in stew like kimchi, tofu and rice cakes with a random assortment of Western food items like Spam, hot dogs, cheese, and baked beans- items originally sourced from US Forces Korea when food was scarce.
- In the last few years I was in Korea, Tex Mex became the trendy cuisine in Korea. I remember the first time I tried kimchi carnitas fries– I felt really skeptical about it initially but after the first delicious bite I knew it was a tasty mix. I can’t wait to try this recipe for kimchi fries!
- I love this creative take on kimchi jeon. Jeon is a type of savory pancake (like a latke chock full of vegetables and/or meat) and one of my favorites is kimchi jeon. Mabel decided to waffle some kimchi jeon and make a bulgogi kimchi-jeon sandwich.
And finally, not kimchi related but Korea related. My friend Amy Ginther was featured in this week’s cover story on New York Time Magazine. I am incredibly proud to be her friend. Please read this article about international adoption, adoptee identity and its implications.
I celebrated the new year in Hoboken, New Jersey with my boyfriend and some good friends, eating a delicious meal at Amanda’s and counting down the seconds to midnight wearing a ridiculous hat and having an obnoxious noisemaker blown into my ear. Originally I had planned to return this past Sunday but seeing how I had a week off between my old job and new, I decided to spend more time up north. I got to see my best friend Jessica in Manhattan for coffee, cook dinners for my boyfriend while he was at work and craft a long term editorial schedule for the blog. This must be what it’s like to be a New Jersey housewife (minus the table flipping and cursing).
- This article in the New York Times discusses bone broth becoming a trendy health food, especially with the paleo crowd. They mention seolleongtang which is a Korean bone broth soup that I grew up eating. At cold noodle restaurants in Korea you can get a cup of bone broth from a large carafe as the beverage that goes along with your bowl of spicy cold noodles.
- Style Weekly, a publication in Richmond, Virginia named the 2014 Richmonders of the Year as the food and drink pioneers of the city. Often these entrepreneurs have opened up businesses in neighborhoods ready for renewal. They’re credited for the revival of Church Hill, my favorite neighborhood in Richmond. I plan to visit Richmond in February and I have a pretty ambitious agenda for visiting many unexplored eateries.
- A new year calls for restaurant openings. Here is a list of 9 restaurant openings happening in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia area) this year. I’m especially excited about the opening of Yona, a noodle shop that will be opening in my neighborhood. Mike Isabella is a partner of this shop and he’s opening two other restaurants in the Ballston, Arlington area that I live in: Kapnos Taverna (around the corner!) and Pepita. Walking a few blocks to good food is a pretty exciting prospect for me!
- Before I start indulging at these new restaurants I need to consider hopping on the healthy eating bandwagon that starts creaking along in January. My brother gave me a vegetable spiralizer for Christmas so I think the first thing I’ll be making with it will be Healthy Zucchini Noodles Chow Mein with Pork.
- I want to pack this Sweet Potato and Green Rice Burrito Bowl for lunch every single day. It looks so satisfying and healthy.
- Or maybe I’ll just make Black Sesame and Ginger Chicken Noodle Salad because any time I read black sesame in a recipe title my mind can’t think about anything else.
- One of my New Year’s resolutions is to organize my apartment better, especially my kitchen. Here are 29 things you can do right know to get your kitchen organized.
Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful holiday with those you love. I know I had a really nice one here at home with my family eating good food, playing Scattergories and Chinese checkers, opening gifts and attempting to take a big family picture of all of us. I love the second picture of us laughing. I told them the camera took ten frames in this certain setting but no one believed me and luckily the camera caught us in an impromptu moment.
There were tons of amazing recipes out there this week but here are a few of my favorites and a couple of other links, too:
The Washington Post had an article about why you feel so lousy after a huge holiday meal around Thanksgiving, but I bet this applies to a lot of people right now.
“But if we talk among ourselves and properly love one another the best we can, we will prevail. A just and wonderful world can be ours, as long as we do not relinquish our citizenship.” –Mark Bittman’s Christmas dream.
Brian Feldman’s project “BFF” is running January 1st- December 31st in 2015. I highly encourage you to go! Brian is a wonderful and talented guy and he explores important questions about friendship through this unique and interesting show. If I seemed biased because I know him personally, check out his reviews and buy a ticket here (side note: I shot his poster! It was really fun and I also got great shots of a protest that sprang up in front of us while we shot this).
There were so many cookies arriving in the mail these past two weeks! They’re all part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. On Monday you’ll be able to see more pictures and links to these cookies above and the cookie recipe I contributed to the swap. In the meantime, links:
I LOVE Lindsay and Bjork from Pinch of Yum. They are my personal food blogging heroes. I loved Lindsay’s post called 15 Ways to Avoid Blogger Burnout. I feel like she is my personal guru! Also, these spicy sofritas veggie bowls look so tasty. How lucky that I happen to have all these ingredients in my fridge at the moment.
I’m always interested in planning for breakfast the morning after a big holiday at home with my family. I may have found the ultimate breakfast for the morning after Christmas.
I might only have a little rosemary bush shaped like a Christmas tree decorating my house but Sini’s beautiful winter wreath making post really gets me in the mood for celebrating Christmas.
Okay, so this isn’t really a Thanksgiving recap. I wasn’t very handy with the camera last week. My mom’s arm is in a sling (don’t worry, she’s doing better!) so the task fell on my dad, brother and me to cook everything so we were quite busy. It was a pretty calm day of food prep though, with very little last minute scrambling. I did manage to injure myself by splattering molten hot cranberry sauce all over my arm, but it was nothing a quick soak in ice cold water couldn’t fix (honestly, nothing can top the burn I gave myself last night as I greedily bit into a pie crust cookie fresh out of the oven (recipe pending!) causing the hot jam filling to come out the other side and onto my hand). We enjoyed a honey brined turkey, brussels sprouts, a variation on sweet potato anna, and so many other things that made me feel full for a week afterwards. My brother made this pumpkin pie with bourbon and bitters. And the next day I threw some of that skin searing cranberry sauce into some baked french toast with challah bread.
On Saturday my brother flew back to Florida where he lives so we headed to Old Ebbitt Grill, a family favorite before he left. We took this family selfie (felfie?) while waiting for grilled oysters and Korean style pork belly tacos. I now feel like I need to eat shredded kale until Christmas dinner.
Meanwhile, this week in links:
I squealed over the cuteness of these gingerbread terrariums.
Shot glasses made out of toasted marshmallows. What.
I always love learning about new ways to improve on my blog. I can’t wait for Amanda’s ebook on SEO for Food Bloggers to come out!
A nice primer on some of my favorite comfort foods, Korean stews.
Sometimes I feel like there’s a blogging collective consciousness. My family had spiked spiced cider at Thanksgiving and then this morning I see this libation of beauty.
And on a serious note, some heavy things are happening these days. I don’t want to get political on here and I can’t express myself eloquently enough about this issue. Lindsey expressed it beautifully.
Last weekend I went to the Emporiyum in DC. It was an event that featured a sort of food market with purveyors from all over the country. Held in the Maurice Electrical Warehouse just down the block from one of my favorite places in DC, Union Market, ticket holders filed into the warehouse and walked around to each vendor’s table, tasting samples as they followed the line of tables. You could also buy any of the items you sampled and also buy dishes from any of the restaurants featured there. There was ramen from Toki Underground, chocolate bars from the Mast Brothers, and past from Sfoglini. After a while the crowds were a bit overwhelming so we headed to Union Market to get some Rappahannock Oysters and pork buns from a Toki Underground pop up.
I’m excited to see what they do for the next Emporiyum scheduled for April 2015 but I hope they do something about crowd control!
Here are some links from around the web:
The New York Times posted an article on my favorite neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia- Church Hill.
Amanda McClements, the owner of Salt and Sundry, a lovely shop selling home goods and food finds in Union Market (and now 14th Street) posted a list of holiday and hostess gifts on the Etsy blog.
Laura over at Blogging Over Thyme is celebrating brussels sprouts this week. I looove crispy greens and these fried brussels sprout leaves with lemon and chili flakes looked amazing.
Last weekend I traveled south to Richmond, Virginia to participate in Fire, Flour and Fork. I had a unique opportunity to attend as a Virginia Blogger and at the last minute I got a media pass so that I could attend Friday as well as Saturday. This meant I could attend twice as many culinary and cultural sessions than I had planned. I saw a demonstration on how to make Crack Pie by Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar, David Guas made us crawfish gravy and biscuits from his restaurant Bayou Bakery (which is right near where I live) and a chiffon cake made with corn and rice flour by Alice Medrich was whipped up in front of us. Not only did we get to listen and watch them cook but we also got to taste what they made.
I’m excited to spend this food-filled weekend in Richmond checking out some interesting events, especially on Saturday, November 1st which is slated to have the most attendees. There are four time slots and several sessions to choose from covering a wide range of topics. It took a lot of time to decide which four events I will attend and I went back and forth for a while, asking a few friends which events they’d attend. I’m confident that no matter what events you choose to attend you’ll walk away having learned a lot and with a greater appreciation for the craft of producing great food and drinks.
I turned 30 on Sunday. I got the best well wishes, cards and presents a person could ever hope for- including the new Instax camera pictured above. All the photos are from brunch with my family or my birthday celebration in DC on Saturday night. We started the night at Mandu and ended the night at Muzette for a night of Korean style karaoke. We drank sojutinis and sipped (or shot) way too much whiskey. It was so fun and everyone partook in the singing and dancing.
My heart wants to explode with all the love I have for these people! My brother flew in from Orlando and various friends took buses, trains and drove hours to come be with me to celebrate the big 3-0. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I enjoyed this beautiful view of Manhattan from a college campus on the edge of the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey. I was on a bluff overlooking the river in a relatively empty, green park, taking in the striking skyline on such a sunny summer day. It wasn’t too hot and a nice breeze was coming off the water as we tried to take frame after frame of ourselves, testing out the remote shutter release on my camera with very little success. Selfies taken with DSLRs are not very practical, I learned. Sometimes you need to give into the practicality of the smart phone. I didn’t take very many photos last Saturday as I enjoyed watching three World Cup games (Uruguay and England both lost- terrible disappointments!) and several pints.
I lived on the second floor of this building on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia for three years. Situated in the historic Fan District, my one bedroom apartment was a gem of a place. It was next to beautiful historic mansions but insanely affordable and in close proximity to friends, school and all sorts of delicious places to eat. I drove on the cobblestone street everyday to get work or walked down the avenue past the monument to Robert E. Lee on my way to class at VCU.