smith & wollensky.

A few weeks ago, we were invited to Smith & Wollensky by some friends for DC Restaurant Week.  We knew dinner would be a fun adventure, because a) Our friends are fun – of course, b) You never know what to expect with Restaurant Week menus, and c) We probably wouldn’t have have thought to pick Smith & Wollensky, so it was good to try something outside our normal sphere of interest!  Honestly, all I knew of Smith & Wollensky going into the dinner was that it appeared in the 2006 movie Devil Wears Prada.

If you don’t know how DC Restaurant Week works, you get to have a three-course meal (one appetizer, entrée, and dessert) from a fixed menu – all for $35.11.  (Lunch is $20.11.)  For my first course, I chose the Creamy 5-Onion Soup.  I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had an onion soup I didn’t like, and this one was no different!

Creamy 5-Onion Soup

The FIVE onion concept blows my mind, and I want to look into that more.  For entrées, I have pictures to share of Chris’ Steak & Fries, and my Crispy Organic Chicken Breast.  (The third choice was Pan Seared Grouper.)

Steak & Fries

Crispy Organic Chicken Breast

The entrees were fine… not incredibly memorable, but definitely satisfying.  The dessert choices were: Old School Tapioca Pudding (I don’t think I’m a tapioca fan!) or Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake (intriguing).  Kimberly ordered a “slice” of chocolate cake in addition, and that was heavenly.

Chocolate Cake

The highlight of the night for me was the wine a few of us shared!  A 2007 Chalone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Monterey County.  It was so interesting and smooth, and we decided it tasted like black currant and raspberries.  It was delicious with all of our dishes, and really made the meal for me!

2007 Chalone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Monterey County

I’m not sure if I have much else to say about Smith & Wollensky.  It was a fun night out in the city with friends!  I probably wouldn’t put it on a must-go-back-as-soon-as-possible list.  Thanks for a lovely evening though, S & W!

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salmon w/dill & cucumber sauce.

I mentioned yesterday having fresh basil from a church family’s home garden.  A mom I know from the youth group was incredibly generous to me, and gave me an ASSORTMENT of fresh vegetables recently!  Fresh basil, dill, chard, a green pepper, and two cucumbers!  She suggested that I make salmon with cucumber and dill sauce, so I picked up some salmon on the way home and made it happen that very night!

Salmon w/ Dill & Cucumber Sauce

I got a little carried away with the amount of sauce, and we ended up scraping some off.  The recipe I used said to serve the salmon in a “puddle of sauce,” but maybe I interpreted that too extremely!  In any case, the meal was very fresh-tasting and lovely.  We ate on our teeny tiny balcony as the sun went down!  As Sandra McCracken once said, “Contentment is like muscle strength.  Gratitude is the exercise.”  (I think she tweeted that a long time ago actually, but I’ll never forget it!)  So the blessings count that night went like this: we were thankful for love, fresh garden produce, salmon, health, the sunset, and having more than we need — in so many ways.

little caprese treats.

These mini caprese treats don’t even need instruction!  As you can see, they simply consist of fresh mozzarella, sliced cherry tomatoes, and a bit of basil all on a toothpick!  Plus some fresh ground pepper.  So easy, and you feel like you’re in a classy restaurant when you’re eating them…

Mini Caprese Snacks

I am especially proud of these treats, because all of the ingredients are organic.  The fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes are from our farmer’s market across the street, and the basil was part of a lovely gift to us from a church family’s home garden.  Wonderful!

easy seafood meals.

This is a post about nothing revolutionary… just two meals I’ve made lately that are EASY and involve seafood.  First, salmon!  It is my goal to cook salmon once a week.  (We’ll see.)  Today I was skimming an article on the Spanish Mediterranean Diet (from one of Chef José Andrés’ websites), and it really affirmed me in this meal:

Salmon w/Broccoli & Brown Rice

I think I tend towards Mediterranean ways in general… it’s probably the Greek in me.  For this meal, I used organic broccoli, brown rice with NO added anything (so the rice took 45 minutes or so to cook), and Atlantic Salmon (thanks, Harris Teeter, for your half-price deal!).  The salmon marinade consisted simply of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper… and I cooked the salmon in 5 minutes on our George Foreman.  I finally watched Food Inc the other weekend, and it inspired me to eat as purely as possible!!

Of course, to balance out Food Inc, I suggest watching this.  The other extreme… so funny.  :)

Here is the second seafood meal I made recently:

Garlic & Basil Linguine w/Shrimp & Spicy Tomato Sauce (w/Broccoli & Squash)

The caption describes what’s going on here.  The garlic and basil linguine is from Trader Joe’s (I love it, because it cooks in just around 5 minutes or so.).  I made the spicy tomato sauce (really an “arrabiata sauce“) from tomato paste, water, and tons of different dried spices.  I was going to put ground beef in the sauce for a standard meat sauce concoction, but Chris and I had just eaten Elevation Burger for lunch (YUM!  And so in line with Food Inc… grass-fed, free range beef, and fries cooked in olive oil!), so we decided to go with fresh shrimp in the sauce instead.  It was a lot lighter, but still filling.  Delicious! :)