Isabella hits a home run….Chowing down with Top Chef …
July 18, 2011

me and Mike...just hangin'....you know....

I told you last week about heading to Graffiato this weekend…Top Chef’s Mike Isabella’s new place in Chinatown in D.C…..and  It. Was. Awesome. Loved it…The menu was chockablock(is that a word?) with delicious small plates…the hardest part was making decisions about stuff….we started off with some breads and the blistered peppers…yummy together…

So pretty, and soooo good....

And this fresh mozzarella, I watched a line chef stretch and make into a ball, right in front of us…it is topped with an herby/olive oil concoction…instant bliss.

Best seat in the house.....we thought...

We were seated at a bar that seats 6, that overlooks the kitchen in action…and Isabella was right there….tasting, wiping down the plates, looking like he was having a blast..

Love this touch...so homey, and just right...

And I should add, we could not get reservations, but they set aside a certain number of tables for walk-ins like us…and while we got there at 5:30 pm(hello early bird special)…we still couldn’t get a table…but in the end we adored sitting at this observation bar/chef’s table. Not as good for conversation, but lots of Isabella and food watching fun. And I adore the herbs planted in tin cars…nice touch. Service….attentive and knowledgable, and here’s something …we got out for $90 a couple. Not that that is cheap, but we did a lot of food sampling, and two bottles of wine(shared for 4 people, ok not just us). My fave dish…the Vermont pizza, with melted leeks, cheddar, and smoked bacon. Un-bee-leeev-able.  And Mike Isabella wasn’t the only one doing some pretty serious cooking this weekend…more on that, on Wednesday!

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Potter, Romesco, and Graffiato….making plans for the weekend….
July 15, 2011

OK, there are several things I want to accomplish this weekend….first:

Harry, Hermione, and Ron....it looks serious this time....

That’s right…see the latest…and the last..installment in the Harry Potter series. My daughter heaved a huge, aggrieved sigh when she heard this, saying, “that’s not gonna happen“. No support at all…and I know the hubby is a lost cause on this one. Still, it could happen(ever heard of passive-aggressive?).

Two…. cook something killer this weekend. The Contenders:

How could these ingredients combined NOT be delicious??

Creamy Grits with corn, goat cheese and roasted tomatoes….this recipe came in my inbox this morning from The Kitchen…here it is. While I did resent the line within the article saying, “Gone are the trashy Southern stereotypes of yesteryear“. Excuse me?  I have made allowances for the writer, and intend to put this on the table, maybe Sunday. Oh, and while the recipe calls for milk and water, I’d finish it off with some cream or half and half, if you really want creamy grits. And the idea of roasting halved cherry tomatoes for an hour at 400 degrees, seems like asking for cinders…I would at least check them at 30 minutes. OK?

The other contender:

Ever had Romesco Sauce? Me either....

Grilled Skirt steak with Romesco Sauce-here’s a recipe from Simply Recipes…. the marinated steak would be pretty darn fine by itself but the sauce which comes from the Catalan region of Spain,  sounds really intriguing…

Love the color of the sauce....

It’s made with grilled red peppers or pimentos(some recipes add a tomato), toasted bread, almonds,  garlic and other stuff(liked smoked Spanish paprika, one of my fave new spices), sautéed and all thrown in to the food processor. Interesting. Have any of you ever made it?

I'm going this weekend!!

Going to try Graffiato this weekend with friends in D.C….remember Mike Isabella from Top Chef last season? He was the runner-up(should have won in my opinion, but whatever)…

An Italian, tatooed cutie.....Mike Isabella

Looks like a cool place..casual… Italian of course, lots of small plates, five kinds of cured hams, some amazing looking pastas and pizza(roasted potato gnocchi with braised pork shank anyone?)….and a wine list that doesn’t feel like you have a gun stuck in your ribs…if you know what I mean. I’ll report back Monday.

And I hope all of you do something fun, cook something delicious, don’t throw rocks, and come home safe….’cause we miss you!