america eats tavern!

Last Saturday, Chris, two friends, and I had the opportunity to check out America Eats Tavern, a new pop-up restaurant by Chef José Andrés.  I could not contain my excitement!  We showed up for brunch right when the restaurant opened up, and easily got a table.  The place was definitely pretty packed when we left, so I’m glad we got there early!

Ceiling of America Eats Tavern

America Eats is replacing the space where Café Atlántico used to be.  The famous and apparently amazing Minibar, which is usually upstairs, is currently undergoing renovation.  America Eats closes in January, and Café Atlántico actually will move to a different location… so I wonder what will happen with the space next year!  There is definitely a lot happening.

Anyway, America Eats Tavern is exploring a new and innovative approach to classic American dishes from different time periods throughout history… many of which have been lost over time.  The restaurant goes along with the National Archives exhibit, “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”  We didn’t go to the exhibit this time around, but we’re planning to go soon with a bigger group and return to the restaurant around that as well. Since there were four of us, and we are all adventurous in trying new foods, I have many photos to share!  Here is the delicious Blackberry Butter that came with the bread basket we ordered.

Blackberry Butter

We tried two cocktails among the four of us.  I don’t remember the name of the one on the left, but as you can see, it was a sparkling and lighter drink.  The cocktail on the right is the Ramos Gin Fizz, made with gin, egg whites, citrus, cream, and orange flower water!  You could taste every single one of those ingredients in perfect harmony.  The fizz on the top was very solid, and barely moved as the drink quickly disappeared.  The Ramos Gin Fizz was developed by Henry C. Ramos in New Orleans in 1888.  Amazing!

Two Brunch Cocktails (Ramos Gin Fizz, on right)

Here are all of our entrées…

Maine Lobster Roll, John D. Rockefeller, Mount Desert Island, Maine, 1910

Shrimp 'n' Anson Mills Grits with a Fried Egg, Jamestown, 1607

Waffles with Blackberry Butter & Vermont Maple Syrup, James Hemings, Monticello, 1796

Hangtown Fry, Hangtown, California, 1849

I tried a little bit of Chris’ lobster roll, and it was pretty good.  He said it wasn’t his favorite roll he’s ever had, but he liked how the mayo and lobster were separated in the sandwich.  The other boys enjoyed their dishes a lot, though comments of the portions being a little small were made.  I absolutely LOVED The Hangfry!  It was packed with flavor, and I felt the joy that the gold miners must have felt when they struck it rich in California and then bought this particular dish to celebrate.  It was the perfect amount of oyster taste, and everything I could want in a glamorous brunch entrée.

We then ordered two desserts and two teas.  I tried a little of everything, and the desserts were incredible!  The Key Lime Pie was apparently made from fresh key limes… something most restaurants don’t use, for some reason.  The Vermont Sugar On Snow really showed off the amazing Vermont syrup, and the flowers added a unique twist to the dessert. Chris and I enjoyed our teas, though they tasted pretty standard to us.

Dandelion Tea

Balsamic Hyperion Tea (the tea people drank after the Boston Tea Party)

Key Lime Pie

Vermont Sugar On Snow

What a fun and different brunch experience!  Reading the menu in and of itself was a learning experience… there are little blurbs about the history behind each item.  Now I want to spend some time reading the menu online before I go back!  I am so excited to return to America Eats, and hope to get there for a few more meals before January.  The restaurant definitely made us proud to be Americans!  :)

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prosciutto lasagna with angry sauce.

Earlier this week, I decided to tweak my mother’s amazing lasagna recipe in order to include some ingredients that I’ve been loving lately.  Here are two things I’ve been obsessed with since honeymooning in Italy: prosciutto and arrabiata sauce.  Prosciutto, according to Caitlin Fitzgibbons on HelloGiggles, is “like ham that went to university abroad — sophisticated and cultured.”  Love it.  Arrabiata sauce is spicy red sauce.  I learned in Italy that arrabiata actually means angry!  The Italian language is so beautiful.

So here is a rough recipe of my Prosciutto Lasagna with Arrabiata Sauce….

INGREDIENTS

  • 13 x 9 pan
  • 6 oz prosciutto
  • 2 jars of Arrabiata sauce (I only had one, so when I realized I needed more, I added some ground cayenne pepper & red pepper flakes to a jar of normal sauce)
  • Package of lasagna noodles
  • 1 pint ricotta cheese
  • 12 oz mozzarella cheese block
  • (I also threw in some fontina cheese, since it had it on hand.)
  • Parsley
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs

Ingredients.

DIRECTIONS

  • Apply a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of the pan.
  • Then 3 long noodles.  (I usually cook the noodles, but happened to have the oven-ready kind on hand.)
  • Alternate blobs of ricotta mixture (which is ricotta mixed with the eggs and parsley) and mozzarella across noodles.
  • Add sauce on top, just to cover, along with proscuitto.  Sprinkle parmesan.
  • Repeat layering order, ending with sauce and some parmesan cheese on top.
  • Cook for 30 minutes (covered in foil) at 350 degrees.  Let cool, and enjoy!

Prosciutto Lasagna w/Arrabiata Sauce + Zucchini.

asparagus, goat cheese, & mushroom quesadillas!

I haven’t been cooking a lot this week.  We were out of town in Blacksburg last weekend, and let me just say that if you ever are in Blacksburg, you MUST go to Gillie’s for breakfast.  I love everything on the menu, but usually order the Red Earth (homemade salsa on top of scrambled eggs on top of potatoes!).  I need to recreate that sometime.  Anyway, this week has just been a busier one of leftovers, eating at Panera, eating at National’s Park, etc!  By the way, we totally missed these new vendors at the stadium.  That’s okay, Ben’s Chili Bowl is still pretty exciting.

I did want to share one of my favorite easy and quick veggie meals.  I consider myself a flexitarian (yes, that word is for real!), so I love eating vegetarian whenever I can.  Here is a recipe for goat cheese and asparagus quesadillas… and I always add mushrooms!

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Mushroom Quesadillas

I’m starting to wonder if I only eat the same ingredients all the time?  I do love asparagus, goat cheese, and mushrooms.  :)  You can make these in a pan on the stove, but I’ve started using our little George Foreman grill instead.

I’m making a Mexican casserole this weekend for our friends who just had a baby, and then we’re having a couple over for Mexican food on Monday… so those are my next cooking adventures!