07 October 2011

Tastes Like Vacation

My vacation tasted like home.

Hold on a minute-- don't start making assumptions there, bucko.  I am no McDonald's tourist.  I firmly believe that vacations should taste of exotic spices and meats, with a side of foreign scenery and menus you can't really understand but order from anyhow.  I believe in trying whatever the locals consider best and opening your mind to what you find.

But when I return home to the US for my two-week visit with the family each year, I love becoming reacquainted with the familiar flavors of my childhood.  I can't get enough of the huge range of multi-cultural offerings you find in the States, with all these ingredients I can't get my hands on in Lisbon.  And the spiciness!  Ohhh, how I love getting my hands on the spicy.

Luckily, anytime my family gets together in one time zone there is a 100% chance that delicious food will be involved.  Every hour, on the hour, if possible.  I am still smiling at the memories of all the good stuff I got to eat.  Wanna see the highlight reel?

(Yes, you do.  You totally do.)

Anniversary Lunch at Capitol Alehouse in Fredericksburg, VA

Bacalhau Boy and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary by having lunch with my folks at the Capitol Alehouse.  Romantic, shmo-mantic-- letting loose with some family laughter and afternoon beer tasting may just have to become an anniversary tradition after this.

The Pumking Ale was amazing.  Not too sweet, just perfectly spiced.  Like autumn in a bottle.
The Bavarian Pretzel was soft and chewy, served with mustard which was a creamy spicy delight.

Cocktails and Take-out Taco Feast in Columbia Heights

My brother and sister-in-law live in Columbia Heights, a neighborhood in Washington, DC which has a vibrant mix of latinos, african-americans, and young whiteys.  Hipster bars spring up next to shops that sell jeans with padded bums.  That sort of thing.  I loved it.

Also? This neighborhood has the best take-out tacos ever.

El Salvadorian tacos from a tiny establishment in which the owner is always sitting around drinking a mysterious tea.  If I lived near this place, I would speak Spanish is no time.  Also, I would find out what was in the tea and see if drinking it helped me make awesome tacos.
Dark and Stormies: where have you been all my life?  My sister-in-law mixed us up some of these addictive cocktails with dark rum, ginger beer, and a squeeze of lime.  Ohhhhh, so nice.

Lunch at Founding Farmers in Foggy Bottom

BB and I stumbled into this restaurant after wandering for miles around the DC monument circuit.  We were tired, overheated tourists who honestly might have walked into any establishment with food + air conditioning and come out satisfied.  But luck was smiling on us, and we ended up having one of the most inspired meals of the whole trip. (Also, the air conditioning was excellent.)

The cranberry-cucumber juice was so light and fresh, I wish they would bottle it and sell it overseas.  Just to me.  One of my favorite drinks, will definitely be trying to re-create that one.
The fresh vegetables served in every menu item are sourced from local farms, showcasing the best of what is in season.  The results were delectable-- from our cornbread with fresh bits of corn sizzling along the bottom to the open-faced eggplant and roasted pepper sandwich I wolfed down afterwards.

Oktoberfest Dinner Party

OK, perhaps I should not be showing you this or telling you about it, because this is the post in which you discover that my brother and sister-in-law are better cooks than I am.

It's true.  But I don't care if you know it, as long as they keep inviting me to feasts like this one!  We got to spend a Friday evening with some of their closest friends, enjoying some Oktoberfest microbrews and an amazing menu of Bavarian treats.

The centerpiece of this dinner was a homemade sauerbraten which had been marinating for days in the fridge, and was tender and tart and so very tasty.
Black Forest Cupcakes capped off the meal.  I may have eaten more than 3.

Virginia State Fair in Doswell, Virginia

We ate our way through the Virginia State Fair this year, and as a result I am currently looking for full-time employment as a State Fair taster.  If you hear of any job openings, pass them along.

BB ate his first ever corndog!  It was a great specimen, fully worthy of his time.  It only took him a few minutes to devour it and declare himself an official fan of the c-dog.
My dad and I braved the beast called the Donut Burger.  Picture a delicious bacon burger.  Now, imagine that the bun is actually a Krispy Kreme donut.  Strange, and worth trying.  (But not likely to grace my barbecue.)
Funnel cakes are reason enough to pay the price of admission to most fairs.  These were no exception.  So light and crisp and sugary that I couldn't resist eating it immediately, even as it burned my tongue.

1 comment:

  1. These are so great --I felt like I was re-living your stay through these pics (as if the extra few pounds weren't reminder enough) ;)

    I'm sending you a few extras of your birthday dinner feast because really, nothing says home like all-day sauce!