Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Because I am all about drinks of the moment, I will give my mojito recipe. One piece of advice for DC Folks - mint grows like a weed. There is no reason why you have to pay for the damn stuff when you can poach it off your neighbors. Seriously, I do it all the time and my neighbors are happy I am taking it off their hands. Please email me if you want to know all of the prime mint poaching on Capitol Hill.

3 fresh Mint sprigs
2 tsp Sugar
3 tbsp fresh Lime Juice
1 1/2 oz Light Rum
Club Soda

In a tall thin glass, put in the sugar and mint and then crush part of the mint with a fork to coat the inside. Add the lime juice and stir thoroughly. Top with ice. Add rum and mix. Top off with *chilled* club soda (or seltzer). Add a lemon slice and the remaining mint, and serve.

You can do this in big pitchers as well but people won't have the springs of mint swimming in their glasses.

Kahlua Butterscotch Bundt Cake

I made this yesterday for a Finance Training. It certainly sweetened up the evening of numbers and spreadsheets. It's a variation on the pistachio cake listed in an earlier entry. I'm trying to figure out how to make the coffee taste stronger. Any ideas?

Kahlua Butterscotch Bundt Cake

1 package butterscotch pudding
3 tbsp Kahlua
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 1/4 C water
1 yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/4 C oil

Combine all ingredients. Blend. Beat at medium speed for two minutes. Pour into greased and well-floured bundt pan.
Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Wait a minute or two (no more!) and turn onto a cake plate.
Optional: Dust with powdered sugar, a simple icing, or just leave it alone. --JD

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Yet another 2 Amy's review - Foodgasm

It's been a while since I've had a foodgasm. It usually happens with peaches that I procure at the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market that I insist the crazy apple lady pick for me. Foodgasm is a total body experience where you just don't TASTE something but you feel it's inherent goodness infuse your body. Peaches are divine for this because there is a big difference between perfect peaches and so-so peaches. With a perfect peach, you bite and FEEL the sweetness and feel the juice dribble down your chin as the nutrients perk up your body like a drug. As I think about what induces foodgasm, I realize it's food without much done to it (which is hilarious because I am all about doing things to food). I foodgasm when I eat something that tastes like it was meant to. That mostly happens without unadulterated food.

So last night at 2 Amy's, I was in the full throes of foodgasm. The thing about 2 Amy's is that everything is just right. The decor is warm, friendly, clean, and unpretentious. The waitstaff we had were casual and attentive. And the food was just right. Seriously just right. J talked about the other stuff but I have to gush about the goat cheese and fig jam, because that rocked my world. There was just a rightness about it. The goat cheese somehow never went to far. It was creamy without being liquid, tart without being overwhemling and savory without being salty. Paired with a fig jam that was on the right side of the sweet/cloying line, I lost my shit. It just tasted RIGHT. I swear I needed a cigarette after my first bite.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

2 Amy's - Review

2 Amy's
3715 Macomb St. NW
Washington, DC

Many years ago my friends and family members were chatting up the smash hit musical "The Phantom of the Opera." Incredible. Soooo good. Beautifully executed. Such a great experience.

My brother and mother saw it at the Paris Opera House, sitting nearly in the orchestra and dressed quite shabbily compared to the fancy folk surrounding them (they got a great deal on last minute tickets). Long story short, by the time it was my turn to see the musical of the half-masked singer and his love it just wasn't possible for the experience to live up to all the talk.

He's sad. He sings. A Liberace-esque chandelier crashes to the stage. The end. Was it bad, well no, it was ok. But it definitely was not the SPECTACULAR I was expecting.

Tonight, some small part of me feels I can trust the world again. I've read so much praise for 2 Amy's, the pizzeria/hot dining spot just off Wisconsin Avenue. Mind you, no one said it would change my life, but many have said it is the best pizza in town. In DC, that's not so hard, but honestly, the reviews are right. Here's how it all went down.

We metroed up to Tenleytown and cabbed down to the restaurant. The hostess was friendly enough but definitely seemed a bit harried. Oh wait, there are 6 billion people here. Um, on balance, I think she was just fine. We waited in the bar for about 15 minutes before being shown a table in the back of the bar. We were given the option to wait for a seat in the main dining room, but chose to get going on our meal.

From our tall chairs it was wasy to get a look at the place. The bar was crowded with diners, drinkers and folks waiting for tables. On top of the bar were various meats and cheeses used for making antipasto platters and more. The decor was simple, nothing too much, everything in harmony. Personally, I could not care less about whether a place "looks" right. I am not there to scout locations for Architectural Digest. But you know, the mellow colors on the wall and the simple lighting helped me feel pretty cozy despite all the noise. [Mind you, we are not talking Cafe Asia noise here, but a few more tables and we'd be close.]

The wine list was long, but we did not partake. I myself was not feeling so up for deciding what to eat so I left it up to my partner. This is sometimes a fun way to dine if both people are into their respective roles. I did veto eating boar. Just sounds nast.

Our waiter approached and asked if we had any questions, comments, or onomatopoeias , to which I loudly replied, "Boom!" He said I was only the second person to respond as such and laughed. We like him. He was attentive and patient. Just enough really.

After he walked us through some of the choices, we ordered the Suppli a Telefono, five deep-fried rice balls with mozzarella and grana. We also ordered the pipe dreams goat cheese with mission fig jam and some slices of prosciutto.

These came promptly and not one bite disappointed. The Suppli a Telefono were little bites of heaven in the form of delicious savory rice surrounding some indulgently thick, melted cheese. Crispy on the outside, and just comfort-soft on the inside. The cheese had a slightly sharp flavor and the rice ball had just enough give to make a cozy home for the luscious center. I could describe it several ways, but just go eat some of these. No, really, go now.

As a predominantly vegetarian eater, I indulge when it counts and did not object to the prosciutto being ordered. Thank god I did not object. If you are going to eat meat, it might as well be this good. Four very thinly sliced but large pieces of prosciutto rested across one of the bistro white plates 2 Amy's serves all of their food on. It was thick enough that you could not see the plate through the meat, but just barely so. A wonderful smoky saltiness complemented the almost chewy but delicate texture. Folded up in layers on top of the crusty, olive-oil brushed bread they brought, the prosciutto was a definite highlight.

I save the goat cheese and fig spread for last because I wanted to let my thoughts of it steep just a bit longer. Ahh there, we go. Have you ever tasted a combination of foods and were just so happy that someone thought they should be eaten together? That is the experience of this dish. The goat cheese came in three little cakes, each about the diameter of a Susan B. Anthony dollar. The miniscoop of thick fig jam sat off to the side.

As I cut into the goat cheese, it was clear that the texture was just right for spreading. Now I have had goat cheese that crumbles, goat cheese that is basically sharp tasting cream, and many others. Besides the yummy play of tangy and creamy, this cheese was the perfect texture for tongue and toast. It was made all the better by the slghtly sweet and very fruity jam. Ya gotta love the figs. So good. And you know the cheese could have been covered in dill or flecked with pepper or coated in toasted pecan pieces or some crap like that. The fig jam could have been cloyingly sweet or arranged in artful spirals or spikes. Nope. It was a plop of jam and three
Susan B.'s of cheese. And it rocked my world because the ingredients were of sufficient quality that they didn't need all the extras.

For the main course, we shared the Pizze di 2 Amys ($8.95). It arrived as the menu stated with a touch of a slightly sweet but still deeply flavored tomato puree, a generous but not overwhelming amount of melted fresh mozzarella, some drizzled olive oil and a bit of salt. The crust easily walked that tightrop between crackery and freshly brick-ovened yum yum. I can honestly say it is the best I have had in DC. Better cooked than Coppi's, which I have loved for years, and a touch less self-conscious and crowded than Matchbox. While I could make a meal on all the appetizers, I would indeed miss the pizza if I left it off the order.

We split two desserts, an almond cake that was good, but eclipsed by the stunning spice and liquor soaked-cherries served on the side with a mini-scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream. We also had the cookie sampler which came with three each of a pistachio biscotti, sugar cookies, and slightly cakey amaretti cookies. Biscotti without coffee may have been our only mistake, but it was well made. The other two were tasty and simple.

As you may be able to tell, I would suggest 2 Amy's to anyone looking for an excellent meal in DC. It's hard to find good pizza in the city. Even harder to find a place with such consistently fresh and flavorful ingredients from across the menu.

Best of all, 2 Amy's is the real deal. It lives up to the praise I've heard about it.

Incredible. Soooo good. Beautifully executed. Such a great experience.