Best Burger in DC: Brunch at Duke's Grocery

It's almost 2015!!! Many people are writing "the best of" lists" which I wasn't planning on doing until I had brunch at Duke's Grocery with my friend Mary and her adorable 3 year old daughter this past Sunday and discovered THE BEST BURGER I've had in a very long time!! So I had to share with you. 

Duke's Grocery is "a neighborhood pub and supper spot located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The idea is simple: create a fun spot that our friends (you!) can come in anytime and have a fulfilling meal, a tasty drink and great time in an atmosphere that is unpretentious and laid back. Tuck in, drink up and enjoy!"

Our waiter recommended we get a Full English Brekkie which you can see below. It had toast, beans, eggs, sausage, tomatoes, arugula and blood sausage. It was a spectacular dish, but the winning order was the burger (scroll down).

What a beauty!!! And trust me, the taste was way better than the looks. This brunch burger included Gouda, house dill pickles, two perfectly medium rare cooked beef patties, grilled onion, garlic mayonnaise, rocket (aka arugula) and house made chili sauce. Mary and I split the burger down the middle and devoured it in minutes. Apparently some people add fried egg or avocado, but I can't imagine fitting those in my mouth. More importantly, those would not even be necessary: the burger was so good as is.

I'll definitely be back! Plus, props to our waiter for being patient and accommodating.


Can You Roast A Spaghetti Squash Whole? Yes You Can!

When life gives you a ginormous spaghetti squash what do you do?

Well, in my case I wait a few weeks trying to figure out what to do with it while hoping it doesn't rot on my counter.

The spaghetti squash you see above came in one of my Washington's Green Grocer deliveries (which I pay for: this is not a sponsored post or anything) and I was planning on using a new cooking method my friend Cecilia told me about in which you roast the spaghetti squash in a baking dish with a bit of water while covering the entire concoction with aluminum foil.

Well....when it came time to try Cecilia's method, I got scared: I could barely cut into the squash because it was so HUGE. I did not want to lose any of my fingers or majorly cut my hand. Instead, I decided to try something new (at least to me!): roasting the entire spaghetti squash whole.  After all, people have done this with cauliflower...what's the worse thing that can happen?

Can You Roast A Spaghetti Squash Whole? Yes You Can!
1) Preheat the oven to 425
2) Put whole spaghetti squash directly on the oven rack and roast for about an hour, rotating it every 20 minutes or so
3) Allow the spaghetti squash to cool slightly, then cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and use the flesh to make Spaghetti Squash Latkes


Union Square Greenmarket in New York City

This past weekend I took Amtrak to New York City to visit my good friend Jenny. We ate out, dined in, did a bit of shopping, chatted, watched HGTV and a few movies and caught up after not seeing each other for two years.

On Saturday while Jenny was getting a haircut I strolled around Union Square Greenmarket. It was a gorgeous winter day and I took a few photos to share with you!

Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend.

These are black soy beans!

Bundled up ;)


What To Make With Spaghetti Squash: Spaghetti Squash Latkes For Hanukkah

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. To everyone celebrating, Happy Hanukkah! I wish small and large miracles to every one of you (and to my friends and family and to myself of course;))

Last night I went grocery shopping after work and made latkes using a Russet potato, eggs, onion, salt and pepper. They were crispy and delicious topped them with sour cream and horseradish.

For something a little bit different, I thought I'd share with you a recipe I made last week using a part of a giant roasted spaghetti squash. These spaghetti squash latkes came out incredibly delicate. If you want something a bit more sturdy, add an extra egg and more panko crumbs or flour.

What To Make With Spaghetti Squash: Spaghetti Squash Latkes For Hanukkah
Makes 8

2 cups roasted spaghetti squash
1 egg
1/4 cups panko crumbs
1/4 red onion, grated
1 teaspoon paprika
vegetable oil for frying
for the sauce
lime juice

1. In a bowl combine spaghetti squash, egg, salt & pepper, panko crumbs, grated onion and paprika.
2. Heat vegetable oil (enough to cover the bottom of a skillet) and carefully drop mounds of the spaghetti squash mixture, flattening them with a spatula. Cook spaghetti squash latkes for 3-5 minutes on each side being extremely careful when flipping them over.
3. Make the sauce by thinning mayonnaise with fresh lime juice and adding a bit of paprika for color and taste.
4. Serve latkes topped with the mayonnaise sauce.

Special thank you to my friend Cindy for the gorgeous menorah she gave me years ago and to my friend Laetitia for a fun card ;)

What kinds of latkes are you making this week?

A few extra ideas:


Where To Eat In Salt Lake City: Taste of Red Iguana

As I'm getting ready for a four day weekend trip to New York City to visit my good friend Jenny and her boyfriend Chris, I am reminiscing about an amazing meal I had at Red Iguana with Rachael during my trip to Utah for Thanksgiving.

I loved how bright and inviting both the outside and the inside of the restaurant were. Plus, we had the most patient and kind waitress...let's just say it took a while for Rachael and me to decide what to order.

Luckily, Rachael's sister in law told us that we can order a sampler of moles! Not only were the moles served on a little plate and looked like a flower, the sample was free!

My least favorite moles were the ones with bananas! I've never heard of using bananas in moles (it's one of my least favorite fruits), but I can see how it makes the texture of the mole rich and smooth.

My favorite ones were the following:


Golden raisins, yellow tomatoes, yellow zucchini, guajillo, aji and habanero chiles makes this mole a fiery favorite


Fresh chile poblano, jalapeno, blended with pepitas, sesame seeds, basil, onions, lettuce, zucchini, and avocadsos
A pumpkin seed sauce made with dried chile guajillo, peanuts, pepitas, onions, and tomatoes

We decided to share two dishes (plus house made guacamole!).

To share: fish tacos and two kinds of mole in one dish. I love when restaurants allow you to be flexible and mix and match a few flavors together.

You could almost feel the love in the food: it was definitely not mass produced. The flavors were fresh, rich, and we were tempted to lick our plates. Did we? I will never tell ;)

I so wish Red Iguana would open a location in DC!! Pretty please!!!!

What has been your latest favorite eating out experience during your travels?


Roasted Parsnip Salad with Apples & Kale Chips For Meatless Monday

Happy Tuesday! I'm a day late in posting this Roasted Parsnip Salad with Apples & Kale Chips For Meatless Monday, but I can guarantee you'll like this salad any day of the week!

I had some random ingredients in my refrigerator that needed to be either cooked or tossed and decided to cook them.

The main ingredient in question: parsnips. You can roast them and turn them into a soup or boil them and turn them into a mash. This time I decided to roast them with olive oil and salt.

But then what?!

I also had some kale that has seen better days and thought that since I was already heating up the oven, I could roast the kale too.

Then came the fresh sweet apple, red onion and a mustard dressing. SALAD!

Roasted Parsnip Salad with Apples & Kale Chips For Meatless Monday


3 large parsnips, peeled and cut into segments
olive oil
1 bunch kale {make sure it's completely dry}
1 apple, cored and sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
for the dressing
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grain mustard
drizzle of honey
salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Coat parsnips in olive oil and season with salt and roast for 40 minutes, tossing occasionally.
3. Remove the stems from the kale leaves, tear the leaves into large chunks and lightly coat with olive oil. Roast in a single layer for 25 minutes, tossing occasionally.
4. Whisk together ingredients for the dressing.

To make the salad: arrange roasted parsnips on a plate. Top with apples and onions and drizzle with the dressing. Top with kale chips {if you haven't eaten all of them by this point!}.

I absolutely loved the combination of colors, textures and flavors in this salad. It's such a perfect winter time dish and can be served as an appetizer or a main course if you pair it with a juicy steak!

What do you do with parsnips?


Dorie Greenspan's Rugelach With My Raspberry Ginger Jam & Dark Chocolate

Last month I shared with you a recipe for Raspberry & Ginger Jam With Orange Zest & Bourbon. As a little reminder, I was challenged by Driscoll's Berries to incorporate their raspberries into a rugelach recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking Chez Moi cookbook. I was provided with a free copy of the book, a few coupons for raspberries and a gift card to use for the ingredients. I was otherwise not compensated for this project and as always all opinions are my own.
I used the dough recipe from Dorie's book exactly as it was written in the book and then for the filling used my Raspberry & Ginger Jam with Orange Zest and chopped dark chocolate.

The dough worked like a dream, but there was a slight issue with my filling....see photos below.

Dorie Greenspan's Rugelach With My Raspberry Ginger Jam & Dark Chocolate

Dorie Greenspan's Rugelach With My Raspberry Ginger Jam & Dark Chocolate
{To save the time, I copied the ingredients/directions from the nifty foodie}

for the dough
4 oz. cold cream cheese
1 stick (8 tbsp.) cold, unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 large egg (for glazing dough)
sanding or granulated sugar, for dusting

  1. Remove the cream cheese and butter from the refrigerator 10 minutes before you’re ready to make the dough and cut each into 4 equal pieces. This will allow them to slightly soften, but still be cold.
  2. After the 10 minutes, place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and scatter the pieces of butter and cream cheese over the flour/salt. Pulse the mixture 6-10 times, until flour coats the cream cheese and butter. Then, process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl ever so often, until large curds form in the dough (before it processes into a ball of dough).
  3. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface, mold it into a ball, and divide the dough in half. Then, shape each dough half into a square and wrap the squares in plastic film or wax paper. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours (or up to a day).

I had to make the dough twice because I failed to read the directions properly and my dough turned into a ball (instead of being the texture of large curds). I froze the failed dough to use later and made another batch properly this time around.

I rolled the dough and spread it with jam and chopped dark chocolate, rolled it, and placed it in the freezer before brushing the roll with an egg wash and sprinkling it with raw sugar, and then cutting it into individual pieces and baking.

And then THIS happened: it looks like the chocolate completely oozed out!!! I will not lie: I had a mild panic attack, but then lifted the rugelach from the puddles and carried on ;)

How cute are these??? They are definitely a one bite cookie and are delicious. The dough was flaky and light and I loved the crunch of the raw sugar on top. The filling was not too sweet. Next time I'll try to use mini chocolate chips: according to many of my followers, they will not melt as fast as the chopped chocolate.

I'm planning on baking a few of these rugelach straight from the freezer this weekend!


If Hash Browns & Fried Rice Had A Baby...

A few weekends ago I was going to make breakfast, but wasn't sure what I wanted exactly. I had a few random potatoes, some eggs and a few other ingredients. At first I thought I'd make an omelet. But then I decided to do something a bit more exciting.

You see, I LOVE fried rice. I also love potatoes. Potatoes, in fact, may be my favorite starch. What I ended up creating is a mix between hash browns and fried rice. I realize the dish doesn't look SUPER appetizing, but trust me: the flavor is great!

If Hash Browns & Fried Rice Had A Baby...

olive oil
potato, diced
defrosted peas
scrambled egg
kimchi, chopped
cilantro, chopped
black sesame seeds

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add potatoes, season with salt, and sauté until potatoes are perfectly tender. DO NOT UNDERCOOK YOUR POTATOES.
2. Add defrosted peas and heat through.
3. Add scrambled egg(s) and kimchi and heat through.
4. Serve topped with cilantro, black sesame seeds and sriracha.

This dish was really satisfying and fun to eat with chopsticks. You of course can choose to use a fork.