HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! This New Year's Eve was fairly relaxed, S and I went to dinner at the Curious Grape. It was our first time there, and I have to say I was disappointed in the food. I ordered the monkfish wrapped in phyllo and S ordered the lamb chops with chickpeas and carrots. They weren't particularly delicious, so I won't be heading back, but afterwards we joined my roommate and another friend to watch Ryan Seacrest Times Square countdown and drink some champagne and lambrusco. I recently was introduced to lambrusco, this fizzy red wine is especially sweet and delicious! I'd highly recommend it, it comes in a white wine version as well. It is basically an Italian sparkling wine. It was a nice ease into the new year, and I have to say the perfect way to begin 2015.
Earlier in the week two friends of mine and one of their boyfriend's decided to head to Hank's Oyster Bar on Monday night for what ended up being a cold and rainy evening. Luckily D.C. clears out during the holiday season, so finding parking and getting ourselves quickly indoors and outside of the rain was a speedy process.
We settled ourselves into a cozy nook and immediately ordered a dozen oysters, with a happy hour deal of $1.25 per oyster, we had to give it a go! Two of us (me included) enjoy the clean, non-creamy oysters, while the other two love the briny taste of some oysters. By briny I mean that taste of the ocean! So we ended up with a good selection, but obviously that wasn't enough to satiate our dinner appetites. I ordered the Hog Island Style BBQ Oysters. They were fantastic! The shucked oysters are topped with a hot sauce flavored butter and sprinkled with panko. Then they are grilled on a barbecue and served on a bed of tangy lemon vinaigrette tossed watercress. The whole dish was delicious.
Friday I met up with N (yes, she's in D.C. until Tuesday, and will then be heading back to SF). We started with a nice glass of wine and tomato crostini at Seasons 52. They even had a piano player at the bar to entertain the customers. Then we headed over to the Mosaic District, to Four Sisters (an old family favorite!). We shared the crispy spring rolls, garden rolls, and the delicious caramelized fish in a clay pot. The fish came out sizzling like a plate of fajitas, but quite possibly even more delicious!
During the week I made a large batch of this warm and smoky flavored Tex Mex Beef Stew for lunch.
Tex Mex Beef Stew
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 small-medium sized carrouts, roughly chopped
15.5 oz can dark kidney beans
14.5 oz diced canned tomatoes
14 oz "stew meat" (beef cubes)
1.25 oz packet McCormick Taco Seasoning
1/2 bottle of beer or 6 oz of beer -- IPA adds a darker flavor to the stew
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
salt and pepper
- Turn slow cooker to high. Add the coconut oil and beef cubes to the pot.
- Use the flat part of a knife and smash each garlic clove. Peel and chop finely. Add the garlic and onion to the pot.
- Drain all liquid from the kidney beans and add to the pot. Drain half the liquid from the tomatoes, and add them to the pot. Add the chopped carrots.
- Add the taco seasoning, beer, chicken broth, water, salt and pepper.
- Stir thoroughly and cover with lid.
- Cook on high for 1 hour. Turn to low and cook for 1 more hour.
- Place 1 tbsp flour in a bowl. Ladle one spoon of stew broth and mix into flour unti their are no clumps. Pour this mixture back into slow cooker and stir into the stew thoroughly.
- Cook uncovered on low for 30 minutes.