Sear, Simmer & Stir

Life, style & food in the District

Sweaters, Meatloaf, and Graffiti

Oh hey there!  Fancy seeing you here!… That is, assuming anyone reads this blog… (Mom?)

Yes, yes – I know it’s been a while since the last post, but there just hasn’t been much free time to post and there haven’t been many topics on which to post. The mere fact that I am an insane self-editor – blame it on the English professor father – makes each, seemingly mindless, post take hours. [Sigh]

But I have been doing some pretty cool things lately, so I feel like maybe – just maybe – there is something blogworthy in my past few weekends… at least as far as food is concerned?

First up, Kent and I celebrated our two-year anniversary on August 30th with a trip up to Boston!  (All my friends up in Boston say ‘yeaaah.’) It was an insanely fast trip filled with visiting old friends, seeing old sights, and eating at our favorite old stomping grounds (read: holes in the wall).  Chocolate chip pancakes from the Paramount were in the mix (get it? – pancake mix?), as were banana bread beers, victory golden monkeys, Upper Crust pizza slices, and of course, some toasties.  (If you don’t know what toasties are, then ask me some other time… toasties deserve their own post.) All around a lovely trip, yet bittersweet since that city is so missed.

Fast-forward a week, and Kent and I had some friends down to the lake house at Gaston for Labor Day weekend.  Despite the boat crapping-out after a few hours and the jet-skis not working, it was a really fun weekend spent with friends, puppies, fire pits, rafts (thank god they were working) and the great outdoors.  Food to blog about: burgers and corn-on-the-cob on the grill (mmm mmm mmm); Trader Joe’s ruffle potato chips (it’s the simple pleasures in life); cold beer on a hot boat;  wine on the porch in the cool evenings; and s’mores by the fire.  Success!

This past weekend was the first sign that fall is right around the corner (hence the “sweaters” in the title of the post)… And fall is my all-time favorite season.  Yes, yes, yes… I know, I always say summer is my favorite, but for real… fall is my all-time most favorite season ever! – Especially in Virginia.  Hiking, vineyard touring/wine-tasting, apple picking, tailgating/beer drinking, new live music show listings… You name it!  If it is a fun activity, it is awesome to do during fall in Virginia.   The fall also inspires me to cook a lot more.  Maybe it is the cooler weather, the seasonal flavors (apple, nutmeg, squash, etc.), or the abundance of pumpkin beer – Whatever it is, I cook a lot more (especially comfort foods) in the fall and early winter!

Take for instance yesterday – I was doing my routine Sunday morning grocery shopping at Whole Foods, and suddenly had a craving to cook meatloaf (they had lots of “fall” paraphernalia out, so I blame it on the subliminal advertising).  I bought some beef (thank god it was on sale), found a recipe (Ina Garten’s turned out to be wonnnnderful – like sooooo wonderful), and cooked the evening away!  It tasted delicious – just like fall, even with my panko breadcrumbs in substitute for traditional breadcrumbs.

But anyways, back to this weekend.  For starters, football season started up again… And no, I am not a fan of football…. However, I do love the sound of football on in the background…  Mostly because it sounds like fall (see above paragraph for why the sound of fall makes me happy). Also, Old Town was having an “art festival” on King Street, and Kent and I decided to walk down.  We went to the festival last year, too, and it was pretty nice, but this year was awesome… mostly because we paid no attention to the art festival (same shit as last year, to be quite frank).  Rather, we hurried our way to Chipotle for some lunch, made our way to an estate sale off of King (so interesting, by the way – I could have spent a million dollars on china, easily), and wandered into a new … different… kind of shop downtown.  But mostly, we just enjoyed being outside in 70-degree weather!

Saturday night was wonderful, too.  For those of you who don’t know, I am kind of obsessed with graffiti… and tattoos.  I don’t know, call me trashy, but  they are my favorite forms of “modern art.”  Not to get “all deep” on you or anything, but they just seem like very accessible forms of self-expression for our good-for-nothing, hell-raising, hip-hop loving, Nirvana-worshiping generation.  Just to clarify, when I say “graffiti,” I am not just talking about “fuck” written on the underpass of a highway… More like actual art, phases, or political ideologies in graffiti form.  Did I just make graffiti sound more acceptable to you?

My love for graffiti started in college after my first trip to Rome. Rome is COVERED in graffiti… and at the time, I thought it was such shame to see beautiful ancient ruins littered with spray paint.  However, the more graffiti I saw, the more I began to really appreciate and notice the juxtaposition of the two: rebellion, social expressions, and new ideologies covering old, conventional art and practices.  (Oh god, I just said “juxtaposition” in my blog… Something I vowed never to say past my English thesis on fantastical elements in Shakespearean literature.  Shit, I just said Shakespeare…. If you want to stop reading right now, I completely understand…) Just to sum up, I love graffiti…. Which brings me back to Saturday…

A local graffiti artist had a gallery opening at the Fridge in Eastern Market, so we decided to go!… Conveniently enough, the Fridge is located right across the street from Cava, one of my favorite restaurants in DC.  If you live in the area and haven’t been, you must go! Cava is a Greek restaurant that makes the most amazing spicy hummus and assortment of small plates (they also have an incredibly attractive wait staff… just saying…).  However, my favorite thing about this restaurant is something that is not even on the menu… it is free! That’s right – she said free! It’s their harissa sauce, and it is to die for, and they bring it out right when you sit down, with a giant basket of warm pita.  Really, that is all I need. (The harissa is also the “spicy” in their spicy hummus).  Fortunately, I don’t have spend money for dinner at Cava every time I crave their harissa sauce, since our local Whole Foods sells their brand… Otherwise, I would be in serious money trouble. Anywho, I ordered the “inside-out moussaka,” and ate every last spoonful (and every last …ehhhem… two free servings of harissa).  It was amazing.  The mojitos were amazing, and the art  show was amazing. Our walk down the mall after the show was chilly (read: amazing because it means fall), and really helped to start this week out on the right foot.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring some left over meatloaf, some apple strudel (it’s in the oven now!), and another sweater (at least in the evening), cause baby, it’s fall.

(Can you tell I got tired at the end and just wanted to stop writing? Yeah, so can I…)

Until next time – And hopefully not months from now,



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This entry was posted on September 13, 2010 by in Uncategorized.

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