R3

Is this where R2D2 frequents? Doubtful. R3 short for Restaurant 3 is one of the restaurants bragging about it’s local and organic fare. After reading Omnivore’s Dilemma, E* and I were eager anticipating a visit to any restaurant carrying Polyface Farm meat and produce. R3 is located in Arlington, VA.

Loved the BREAD BOWL! It was a great variety with good butter. MM, Paula Deen would love, yes?

Porkbelly Hoecakes (Braised Bacon, Pickled Slaw, Spicy BBQ $12) and Scallops & Grits (Asiago Grits, Tasso Ham, Tomatoes $13). Both appetizer were great. The pork belly was a bit salty but I guess that’s what you get with any form of pig. I REALLY liked the scallops and grits. I appreciate this combination with grits as I’ve never tried it before. I also thought presentation was attentive with plates and color arrangement of the foods.

Ribs with corn on cob and mac&cheese and on the right is Pulled Pork sandwich with fries. This was a LOT of food, but not a surprise considering the people present–we all love food and wanted to try everything. It was all pretty good, I don’t think I could finish the pulled pork sandwich and it was too sweet. The mac & cheese was GREAT, in all it’s wonderful gooeyness.

Not a good picture, sorry! But this was some damn good pasta… the chicken is from Polyface Farm! 😀 It came with linguine, tasso ham, spinach, and cream at $19. Everyone at the table loved this dish. Too bad this was the only thing on the menu that really screamed Polyface Farm… everything else we had to ask the waitress about. And all she could say was “oh yeah, we get our stuff from all sorts of local areas”. ?? Okay…. maybe restaurant 3 needs to work on educating their wait staff on the sources of their food, and put it more eloquently.

Ah, can’t forget dessert. Waffles with bacon ice cream and of course some coffee. Waffles were alright, definitely did not like the bacon ice cream. I would try it again somewhere else, as we all believed this one had CHUNKY bits of bacon. It should’ve been smaller. Instead of complimenting the ice cream, it stole the show. 😦 Anyway, I would love to have some chocolate covered bacon again mmmm mmmm good.

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I found Founding Farmers, again!

Yes… I recall doing a blog post about Founding Farmers. Just yesterday… oops. 🙂 I guess I really love this place, and so should you!

This time the arts girls and I went out for dinner. I got the Fraise Fling (strawberries, lychees, organic vodka, agave, prosecco) and my friend got a blackberry infused vodka cocktail. Both were yummy, but the blackberry one was STRONG! This ain’t no grandma’s cocktail… and funny enough, I think the name was something like that as well.

Deviled Eggs… as you can see they were pretty good because by the time I took a picture it was all gone. On the right, same story, just too good! Cornbread brought to us in a cute cast iron pan paired with some butter sitting sweetly in honey. BEST CORNBREAD EVER!

Spring Pea Ravioli, ravioli filled with spring pea mascarpone and topped off with bacon, some greens, and crusty bread. This was great except for the lack of taste from the mascarpone. I’m assuming the mascarpone was used more for consistency than anything else, and to keep the peas mushed together inside the raviolis. The sauce was great and I used the crusty garlic bread to wipe it up.. mmm…

Oh Darling!

Darlington House
1610 20th Street NW, WDC, 20009
(202) 332-3722

Darlington House Fries were your typical fare as a reliable appetizer for the table. A’s Tri-Colore Salad with Balsamic dressing on the side was good according to her report.

B’s Penne with Tomato and Basil Sauce was a clean dish approved by my vegetarian and lactose intolerant friend, while my “Skizza” with mozzarella, tomato, and basil was a good meal for a late summer evening.

Overall, I’m glad I finally got to try the Darlington House considering I had lived in the same neighborhood for 3 years. It has 3 areas of dining as their website notes– pub below, outdoor (where we sat), and the upstairs indoor dining with fresh linens. 🙂 Nice date place or great place to people watch. I recommend the SKIZZAs!

Hearts

V-Day Special

I know Valentine’s Day was 2 weeks ago, so this is long overdue. I had to at least get it in before the  month was over. Me and my arts management ladies celebrated by doing a rom-com fest of 2 movies, a trio of pasta, and heart shaped sugar cookies. 🙂 Tada!

Above is my version of Paula Deene’s Pasta Carbonara. I used bowties instead of spaghetti because this is what I had. I also used organic bacon from Whole Foods instead of pancetta. Kristin put together a delicious and fresh spinach salad with strawberries, mushroom, and goat cheese.

The 2nd pasta I created is a veggie medley with rotini, broccoli, fire roasted red peppers, onion, and garlic. The 3rd and final pasta I made was the elbow macaroni with basil tomato sauce.

All together with Megan’s garlic bread, we had an Italian feast before our paired movies!

Our icing was a little goopy, but not bad, right? They were quite tasty if I do say so myself. Thanks Brie for the yummy heart shaped cookies ❤

Pizza & Cake at Vapiano

http://www.vapianointernational.com/vapiano/locations/us-locations/us-locations.html

I’ve already reviewed Vapiano several times already, but my sweet Shekki decided to surprise me with a birthday dinner there.

Check out my awesome martini. It’s iced with pink sugar and total sweetness within mixed with some vodka. Oh, and gummy bears buried within. Where are the gummy bears??

There they are! Little rascals were hiding. Tut tut. I wasn’t up to chewing all of them because of the tender teeth, but willingly gave them away to friends who noted how much they soaked up the alki. Tres bon. I thought it was a very cute, strong, and girly drink.

And the scrumptious food:

Spinach and artichoke pizza, sopressata with parmesan and basil, greek antipasti with feta, cucumber, tomatoes, and kalamata olives, and bufala mozzarella (fresh) with basil and tomatoes. Oh my, the bread they serve with all this is amazing as well. Everything is SO fresh and tasty. I truly love Vapiano.

Chicken Pesto pizza. How can you ever go wrong with pesto?

And finally, a delicious birthday fruit and cream cake from Whole Foods. It’s laced with slivered almonds. The cream is so perfect. Thanks, Den, for advising my silly man to go to WF. They didn’t have room on the cake so they iced my birthday message on a clear sheet of plastic. Nice. 🙂 This was truly a beautiful surprise for someone who was not up to planning anything for her birthday this year. I feel the love.

Happy Birthday to me, and cheers to my bf and beautiful friends who made a wonderful evening so special and sweet <3!

AH, most importantly, Happy Anniversary to my WordPress Blog– MY ZING. One year, baby.

Maggiano’s (soft gg’s)

That’s right. It’s Italian, so say it right! MAGGIANO’S (mah-jeeyah-nos).

http://www.maggianos.com/en/Pages/home.aspx

Dining Room view. Sorry, so dark. I don’t like using flash. It’s a fairly large and open space with large tables to accommodate large parties (family, etc.) and booth seats along the perimeter for small parties such as me and my bff.

We shared a medium-bodied pinot grigio. It was refreshing! Like a taste of summer in your mouth. She ordered a dish I dined on my last visit: Chicken and Truffle Tortellacci, Tortellacci stuffed with chicken and baked in a garlic and white wine cream sauce w/smoked ham, Asiago, and spinach (from website).

My dish:

Not the best picture. I got a classic Taylor Street Baked Ziti, Italian sausage, pomodorro sauce and ziti topped with a layer of melted Provolone and Parmesan. (from website)

DESSERT! Had to do dessert. Despite the persistent suggestion of Boston Creme Pie from our waiter, we opted for the Nonna’s Toasted Pound Cake, Caramelized Bananas, Toasted poundcake with caramelized bananas, hot fudge and vanilla bean ice cream. (from website)

I really loved everything. E* enjoyed her Tortellacci and especially loved the fresh spinach. I enjoyed the baked ziti and had the pleasure of taking an additional entree home for free. When you order one of their classic pastas, you can take another one home (different dish or same). The dessert? GREAT CHOICE. Loved the bananas, and the fudge was perfect with the poundcake and ice cream. Ah, very satisfying dinner at Maggiano’s. We went to the one in Friendship Heights. There aren’t many in the DC/VA/MD area, which makes it a bit more special than other chains.

E*, thanks for dinner love! 🙂

Vapiano

Italian for…

VAPIANO

I didn’t think much of this place the first time but the Bethesda location convinced me that this franchise is one of the best places to get Italian food outside of Italy. Their pizza? Crisp, chewy, good. Their pasta? Fresh, personal, tasty. Their salad? Fresh, fresh, fresh. Haven’t tried the paninis yet.

The process? Walk in, grab a chip card, go to whatever station (pasta, pizza, salad) order whatever to your liking, they scan the card, you can go to the bar to order whatever drink, scan again, go back for dessert, scan again, or not. Whatever. Basta.

The pasta is obviously fresh. They’re boxed individually and by the cut of it you can see that these were hand made/processed rather than cut by machine. Right? Look at that spinach. Mild taste… or is it wild? The chef was kind of creepy, when we asked for spicy on a scale of 1 to 10… 8 please… “ah, wild”…. “. . . . .”

Anyway…

large greek salad. mia mamma did not appreciate the saltiness of the feta and capers and olives all together. me? i didn’t mind that much, especially with the soft rolls they offer you.

Four cheese ravioli. I like this quite a bit. They don’t give you too much, the sauce is pretty good, not as overpowering as most cream sauces, and they top it off with a dab of pesto, which I don’t actually think is necessary. With a spicy kick, this dish was perfect for my taste.

All in all, I really like Vapiano. They provide you with fresh LIVE herbs which you can pick at your pleasing at your table. It’s a wonderful atmosphere and great for after work drinks, but really works for any type of gathering and any time of the day.