Take that, Whole Foods…and, a Day in D.C.
August 11, 2010

Delish...and a bargain...at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant??

OK, it’s been one of those busy weeks where I said, “Holy expletive, it’s already Thursday and I haven’t blogged and there’-so-much-I-want-to-say-how-do-I-get-it-all-in-one-post?”  I won’t try to do that as you might be incredibly bored, but I will cover a couple of things, both food related(apologies to those of you who aren’t interested in food-I feel so sorry for you).

Let’s begin with brunch last weekend, at Wolfgang’s Puck’s restaurant in D.C., The Source. First the look of the place…gorgeous, as you might imagine…multi level, very contemporary and sleek….all big windows and great light. We ordered some Bloody Mary’s (the Shanghai with Szechuan chili paste for those who like it hotter and the classic for those who like things a bit more tame) and a Pear Bellini for me….pear puree with champagne…drinks were $8 each which you may know is not bad for D.C.  The menu had lunch and brunch choices…from a hamburger to omelets….and salads.

Tuna tartar...so good...

 They have a 3 course which I would have loved to do, but everyone else said, “Oh, no, I can’t eat that much”…..losers. Pleasant surprise for Donna….four unbelieveably good spicy tuna tartar in crunchy little tuille wraps came compliments of the chef, as did tiny espresso cups of cold gazpacho. Nice start, Wolfie. I get my appetizer anyway, so there. And the dim sum platter was luscious. Oh, and it’s located in the Newseum in D.C…..which is an interactive museum that covers the history of news gathering..gobs of video as you can imagine from every big story ever covered, and you can even play reporter and put together a news story. Oh, and you can get in for $7 if you eat at The Source.

Great street bistro sign....

 That seemed like work to me( I get to do that all the time), so we traveled on to street sale, where stores had stuff out on the sidewalk on sale. Great day in D.C., which I don’t do nearly often enough.

OK, next…..let me say up front about this next  item is that I love Whole Foods…big fan, and I shop there a couple of times a week. And one thing I will buy there every single week is their Adobe Black Bean Soup. Seriously, the stuff is addictive, and it provides me an easy, meatless dinner one night every week. I just slice a little avocado and tomato over the top, maybe sour cream….and dinner is good to go.

Donna's Black Bean Soup...take that.

Only over the summer, this soup has disappeared from Whole Foods. Vanished. At first I thought it was just all bought , but after weeks of the same, I asked what was going on. The response…”Maybe it will be back in the fall but it’s off the summer menu.” Whaaaahhhh?? My reply, “You mean to tell me split pea and ham(which they had-puhleeze) is more summery than Black Bean soup? I don’t think so.” The guy shrugged and said he’d pass along the comment, but….the soup has never come back.

 So this week, I broke down and decided to make my own. And I’m not lying when I tell you mine is better than theirs….I was shocked, but it’s true.

Roasted adobo peppers and tomatoes....

Here’s what I did after reading a few recipes….

drained a couple of cans of black beans(but not rinsed)– sautéed some onion and garlic, along with a few slices of  ready cooked bacon– threw in a few small heirloom tomatoes on the verge of decay–cooked it all down for a few minutes–added the beans and some chicken broth to thin it….pureed about 3/4 of the mixture– added salt and pepper. But here are the 3 things I think put it over the top

Piment D'Espelette, from France

 I added some chopped adobe peppers I had roasted over the weekend(also racing decay) which added a nice smokey touch, and two new spices I had just received in the mail as you can’t find them easily….smoked Spanish paprika and Piment d’Espelette…a special pepper raised in the Basque country in France. I got both these two from an online company called My Spice Sage.  What they added is hard for me to describe, but the depth and layers and layers of flavor were just fabulous. Whole Foods….watch out…I might start my own Black Bean label. Oh, and with every order at My Spice Sage, they send a free package of the hottest spice in the world….Bhut Jolokia Pepper Powder….it rings in at over 1,000,000 Scoville heat units…what ever that means. I’ll try to find out for all of us, but in the meantime I’m sending it to my son, who travels with tobasco….loves the hot stuff.