Friday, April 29, 2011

Founding Farmers Post-Final Food

So, I have a little math question for all of my lovely bloggies out there.  What do you get when you add...

2, 25-30 page research papers
3 written finals
32 books from the AU, Georgetown, George Washington, and...believe it or not...Brigham Young University Libraries
6 hours of sleep per night
= A very tired, stressed college student

And what is the best cure for stress?  Food, of course!  My mom, cousin, and aunts visited D.C. a couple of weeks ago and I wanted desperately to take them to Founding Farmers.  It's an awesome restaurant in the city that focuses on really fresh, delicious food.  It's also incredibly popular and, apparently, difficult to get into during Cherry Blossom season and we weren't going to wait the two and a half hours it would take to get a table.

The moral of the story? We left, Founding Farmer's-less and found a different restaurant.  However, my wonderful Aunt Mo must have seen the raw disappointment in my face at the prospect of missing out on the opportunity to eat at FF, and so she sent me a gift card to go and eat there with my friends (thanks Aunt Mo!).

So, I needed a post-finals, post-paper, celebratory dinner and I only had one place on my mind.  We made reservations, got dressed up (my roommates picked out my shirt because I apparently cannot be trusted to wear anything more fancy than a t-shirt and jeans when left to my own devices), and headed to Founding Farmers!

We had a lovely meal, consisting of a couple of shared appetizers.

An amazing fried green tomato with goat cheese spread and a cornbread skillet with honey butter.  The roomies and I were so famished that I totally forgot to take pictures before we dug in, but you guys get the idea.  I followed this yumminess with some FF butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sage sauce.

Founding Farmers makes their own pasta.  That's right, they fresh make the pasta every day and then fill it with magnificent pureed butternut squash.  It was great, simultaneously salty from the parmesan and sweet from the squash.  But it wouldn't have been a true night out if we had stopped there.

Beignets.  When we ordered them, our waitress said that it would take an extra fifteen minutes for them to make the batter and fry them up.  Freshly fried sugar covered beignets?  I would wait forever.

Yeah, it's a pretty cool place.  I'll be dragging people back.  A lot.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bar Hopping

So, this post is going to be about bar hopping...snack bar hopping that is!  You thought I was talking about booze didn't you?  Silly bloggies, I'm talking about when you have to make the terrible decision between snack/protein bars at the super market!

I would usually rather not eat snack bars.  I find that many of them have a lot of chemicals or weird additives that I am not a huge fan of.  That said, around finals time (now), I need snackage.  I need lots of snackage.  Snack bars are easy, healthy, and usually pretty high protein.  I always keep some around my dorm room (and one in my backpack) in case of emergency or extremely low blood sugar.  Sometimes, these little guys can be a lifesaver (hello, class from 9:55-2:00).  So, I thought I would share some of my favorites.

The first one is a bar that I tried relatively recently.  It's a Kashi Go Lean Crunchy bar.  I got the Cinnamon Coffee Cake because all of their other flavors have chocolate in them and I am not a fan of chocolate in my snack bars.  I liked this one, but it was really sweet.  Seriously, it tasted exactly like coffee cake, with all the sugar that implies.  The stats on this one are pretty decent for a snack bar.  160 cal, 8 g protein, 5 g fiber so it will keep you full for a long time!

For high protein goodness, it's tough to do better than balance bars.  They have a ton of protein, which is great for a veggie like me that needs to find alternative sources of it.  They also come in a ton of flavors (my favorite is the yogurt honey peanut).  At 200 calories, they are a bit of a more substantial snack than the others on this list, but it's worth it for the extra boost of protein.  They have a total of 15 grams of protein, but also come with 18 grams of sugar and only one gram of fiber.  I find that this is a great post-workout snack, but if I just need something to hold me over until dinner, then I will pick something else on this list.

My final pick has been my go-to snack this year, and I gotta say, I am loving it.  It's a Peanut Buddy bar from Nature's Path!  I like it because they are organic, have less sugar than most other bars out there, and are the perfect balance of salty and sweet.  I don't know if you bloggies know this about me, but I am nuts over peanut butter.  I also think I'm way funnier than I really am.  Anyway, these bars won me over with their peanut buttery goodness, 140 calories, 2 grams fiber and only 10 grams of sugar! The protein count on these isn't as good as some others (only 3 grams), but you have to make sacrifices for true love.

So, that's it! Bar hopping at it's finest.  I have finals all next week, so I predict that I will be surviving on these bad boys for a while.  But, at the end of the week, I get to go to FOUNDING FARMERS!!! It's an amazing restaurant in D.C. and I am so excited.  I will definitely post a review when I get back!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Falafel, Frites, and Fro-Yo Friday!!!

After much begging, whining, and general annoyingness, I convinced my friends that they needed to take me to get falafel this weekend.   Well, actually, I just asked.  They were (un)surprisingly ok with making a trip out to Amsterdam Falafel.

My roommates and I are kinda weird.  Our plans almost always revolve around food.  We try to go somewhere new most weekends and if a place gets a second visit, then you can bet that it’s pretty darn good.  So, when I say that we have a falafel tradition, you should know how serious that is. 

We call it Falafel, Frites, and Fro-yo Friday.  It’s magical.  And this weekend, I needed some falafel.  I could feel it calling out to me, asking why I don’t visit it more often...falafel’s kinda a needy meal.  Our falafel place is called Amsterdam Falafel, and it is the bomb diggity.  I say that with all of the seriousness and gravitas that I can muster.

It’s a tiny place in the middle of Adams Morgan.  They serve falafel, and frites, and brownies that’s it.  Don’t go in there thinking that you can cheat on falafel with some other sandwich, because they will slap you down.  Falafel is no joking matter.  This couple basically decided that they wanted a falafel and frites shop that could replicate the taste of the falafels and frites that they had enjoyed travelling around Europe and the Middle East.  So, they opened Amsterdam Falafel.

This place is cool for so many reasons.  The first is that I actually knew about it before any of my friends did because my dad and I had found it when were in D.C. for college tours, so it makes me feel like a local.  No big deal, I know this awesome hole in the wall falafel shop, etc.  The other reason it’s awesome is because you can get food there that looks like this. 

                                                                      *Falafel pita with baba ganoush, beets, red cabbage and tomatoes

That’s ma sanditch.  It was a beautiful sandwich, and it fought valiantly, but ultimately, it made the ultimate sacrifice and died a horrible death at the hands of a hungry vegetarian.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, falafel is a Middle Eastern dish that consists of ground chickpeas, made into a ball, fried, and stuffed into a pita.  At Amsterdam Falafel, you are given this sandwich and then told to go hogwild with the most amazing condiment bar in the world.  I always put baba ganoush and a bunch of veggies on mine.  I then inhale consume, in a completely normal and non-rushed manner, my falafel.  Amsterdam has one more thing that makes it completely awesome…

Frites.  Dutch-style French fries.  They’re amazing.  Not healthy, not healthy at all, but amazing.  They’re double fried and shoved into a paper cone for your eating enjoyment.  The seasoning that you see on those fries is Old Bay.  One of my roommates is from Maryland and they put that stuff on everything.  I think it’s mostly paprika, but it’s good so I don’t really care.  If you’re hardcore, which you know I am, you dip these fried sticks of wonderful into Dutch mayonnaise based frites sauce.  Heavenly.  

Of course, after all of this you might think that any normal individual wouldn't need to eat again for an entire year.  But the falafel is only one part of Falafel, Frites, and Fro-Yo Friday.  After we are done in Adams Morgan, the roomies and I usually walk to Dupont Circle (exercise, right?) and grab some Mr. Yogato.

                                                                      *Original tangy with blueberry and blackberry

Now, we're done.  And I don't need to ever eat again, at least until next time...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Twizzlers and Jelly Beans and Cadbury Eggs, Oh My!

Joy of all joys.  My class ended an hour early tonight!  I really should stop expecting this class to take the entire time, it's a seminar so we are all writing a major research paper and basically just meet to go over things like how many pages it is and what the organization should look like.  But still, it's over and now I have an entire, blissful hour to myself!  Well, technically I suppose I should be working on my 25 page paper due Wednesday or my 8 page paper due Thursday...but my Google calendar says I don't start on that stuff until 8:00, so I am going to use this time to blog and eat candy.

That's right, candy!  My loving mother sent a gigantonormous box filled with candy of all sorts as an early Easter present.  So the roommates and I have been mowing through it at a pretty solid pace.  I also gave some to some friends in the suite down the hall because, well, type 2 diabetes (like love) should be shared.

Other than the candy, I have been eating pretty well the past couple of days.  I went to Whole Foods for one final grocery shopping trip before the end of the semester.  I was almost out of soy milk and cereal, so I pretty desperately needed it.  While I was there, I treated myself to a bowl of Adobo Black Bean soup and a peasant roll.  Yummy.

I love Whole Foods with a passion that is almost scary in its intensity.  But it was a terrible, rainy day and soup really hit the spot.  That is one of the ways that you know that spring really has sprung in DC.  It rains, a lot.  I actually don't mind it all that much, it means that my superhero rain boots are used pretty frequently (they're bright red and go up to about my knee).  The other way you know it's springtime at American University?  The squirrels reappear!

The oh-so elusive black squirrel in its natural habitat, the quad.  In all seriousness though, I am a tiny bit obsessed with the black squirrels.  As someone who grew up in an area with just the plain old grey ones, I just think that the black squirrels are da-bomb.  I also wonder whether they ever feel any desire to rise up against the man and protest grey oppression in squirrel-dom...or perhaps I am just anthropomorphizing them a bit too much.   And in my last bit of news...

Yes!  I am officially a blogger!  Now I have an awesome t-shirt/blogging uniform that I may or may not be wearing right's sooo soft.  Anyway, my dad found this shirt at one of my favorite stores, Raygun, in Des Moines and thought it was pretty awesome.  And he was right!  Thanks Dad!

Well, that's all that's happened in my life recently.  It's coming up to that most dreaded time of the year...finals.  I have many essays to write, a couple of tests, and the odd presentation to round out my year.  That said, I am going to try and keep posting about twice a week.  I have somehow (through begging) convinced my roommates that we need to do a falafel dinner at my favorite falafel place, so look for a review of that in the upcoming week!

Until next time!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Good Morning Sunshine!

Hello bloggies!  I hope you are having a fine Monday morning!  It is supposed to be 88 degrees here in D.C. today, so I am breaking out the old flip-flops and trying to get a tan on my way to class.  The recent change in the weather has me thinking about breakfast food!  Well, almost anything makes me think about breakfast, but that's not the point.  I usually don't like eating hot foods when it is hot out, like coffee or oatmeal.  But, I do love oatmeal.  Seriously, I would eat oatmeal for almost every breakfast if I could.  

However, I do not love the long walk down the hall from my room to the lounge (where the microwave is).  It’s not a pretty sight.  I stumble down the hall, hair uncombed, wearing an incredibly oversized t-shirt with Bugs Bunny and a pair of sweats.  Yikes.  So, I don’t end up making oatmeal as often as I would like.  And once it gets too warm for oatmeal, I have even less of an incentive to make my favorite breakfast. 

However, I found something recently that could change all of that.  Overnight Oats in a Jar.  The idea behind this dish is that you prepare oatmeal with water or milk inside of an almost empty peanut butter jar.  That way, you are able to scrape all the goodness from the inside of the PB jar with your oats.

I was a bit skeptical about this endeavor.  Cold oatmeal?  I love my oats, but I wasn’t sure if the idea of eating them cold in the morning was palatable or not.  But, some of my favorite bloggers have mentioned it, and I have seen it too many times for it to just be some cruel internet joke created to make me cringe.  So, I decided I would have to try it.

I had this idea about four days ago.  I was going to wait until my peanut butter jar was almost empty and then ta-da!  Oats in a jar, here we come!  However, I still had a lot of PB left, and not a lot of patience.  I can usually go through a jar of PB in about three weeks, but that was going to be too long for me to wait!  Hmm, writing about peanut butter makes me want peanut butter…resist urge to get spoon, must not eat PB straight from the jar…OK, I think I’m better now. 

So, anyway, I decided to make OOIAJ.  I followed a recipe I found online, but instead of using the almost empty PB jar, I spread about a tablespoon of PB on the bottom/sides of an old jam jar.  See?  Patience is overrated, who needs patience?  

1 almost empty jar of PB
½ cup instant oats
1 banana
½ cup water
¼ cup soymilk

Put ½ of the banana (chopped) into the jar with the PB.  Top with oats and add in the soymilk.  Stir.  Place in refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, stir again and top with the remaining ½ banana.  (I also added a couple of dried cherries I bought at the Farmer’s Market)

                                                     Awesome oats, after a full night in the fridge, getting all happy.

                                                     The results, tasty, tasty, results.

Despite my previous concerns, the OOIAJ turned out really well.  They were super creamy and yummy.  The combination of peanut butter and banana is always a winner for me, and the cold thing was actually kinda nice.  Since there is no microwave required, this was a really easy way for me to make something other than cereal for breakfast.  And I don’t even have to wait until I have an almost empty PB jar.  Take that internet!  Of course, I suppose you could make this without the peanut butter, but, for the life of me, I can’t even figure out why I wrote that. 

                                                     Overnight oats, after being sufficiently nom'ed
Until next time!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Domo Arigato Mr. Yogato

It’s that time, I have to stand behind all those food review promises and start writing non-intro blog posts.  I had the most terrible time deciding what my first real post would be about, I contemplated many different options; post-modern art, existentialist perspectives, the panopticon in modern society, and eventually I decided to just write a review of a fro-yo place.

But not just any fro-yo place, I would go so far as to say that it is the best fro-yo place in the entirety of the District of Columbia, nay, THE WORLD!  Seriously though, this place is pretty damn awesome.  It’s called Mr. Yogato, and if the name wasn’t indication enough, it’s a fairly quirky place. 

                                                                                                *Picture from

It’s on the lower level of a random building a couple of blocks from Dupont Circle and if you didn’t know it was there, you would probably never stop.  And that would be a terrible life choice, just terrible.  They have four different flavors of yogurt every day, two fairly standard (soft and tangy) and two that are actually flavored.  My personal favorite is the coconut, or blackberry, or guava, or possibly white chocolate.  The flavors plus about a million and a half different toppings make it just like any other yogurt place in the city. 

However, there is something about this place that makes it unique, special, a bit weird.  Mr. Yogato, you can compete in games to get money off your yogurt. 

You heard me.  If you can do the Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance, quote the entire Stirling battlefield speech from Braveheart (with Scottish accent), answer some random bit of trivia or are willing to let them put a stamp on your forehead, you will get money off your yogurt.

Needless to say, I can’t dance and I have never watched Braveheart all the way through (sorry, guys), but I can cheat on trivia like nobody’s business.  Thank you iPhone for your magical googling powers, I will leave a sacrifice on the altar of Steve Jobs later this week.

So, super awesome yogurt plus amazing trivia and other contests that make said yogurt cheaper.  Mr. Yogato is pretty much the most awesome place ever.  It is also relatively healthy, as far as desserts go.  It’s fresh yogurt with even fresher fruit, what more could you ask for? 

Until next time!

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's A Brand New Blog!

Well, it was bound to happen eventually.  I'm on Facebook and Twitter.  I spend more time on Sporcle, StumbleUpon and reading blogs than is strictly healthy for my eyesight (which was poor to begin with).  It seems like there is only one logical progression for me to make in the realm of internet usage and social media.  I have started a blog.

The main impetus behind starting this blog was my sister, Kristen.  She told me that since I am studying abroad in Belgium next summer, I should begin a blog to keep everyone back here connected with my travels.  And, surprisingly, I agreed with her logic.  So, I decided to start a travel blog!!!  But not just any old travel blog, oh no.  One that explores the deeper metaphysical issues of spending time abroad in a foreign country.

~If a waffle falls on the ground in Belgium, does the five second rule still apply?
~Do I take the path less travelled, or have I gotten lost by accident?
~Is love the true universal language?
~Are brussels sprouts called brussels sprouts in Brussels?

The answers...yes, I should have just followed the other tourists, no (and these lovely French people have no idea what you're talking about), and I have no idea.

As you might have noticed, I said I was going abroad in the fall and it is definitely not fall yet.  In fact, it's barely even spring.  Well, I think that I have the personality for blogging.  A tad obsessive, schedule oriented, opinionated, I could do this all day.  So, I wanted to start this now because I feel like I should get into the routine of writing a blog, build a fan base (that is probably mostly related to me, let's be honest), and I want this blog to be a blog about my life and food and travel in general, not just this specific trip.

So, I am going to start writing this blog now!  I will definitely update twice a week, but possibly more.  There will be reviews of cheap eats in DC (where I live now), food reviews in general, recipes tailored to those of us that are space and equipment poor, and random thoughts.  I hope that you stick around for the ride.