Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Ales

During the month of October you see it everywhere - pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie. 'Tis the season for all things pumpkin. And obviously, that includes ye ales.

Top of my list this year is Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale. For starters, I am a big fan of Dogfish Head brews, first because they are locally brewed in nearby Delaware, secondly because their 60 minute IPA is continually on draft at our regular stomping ground, and third, Dogfish Head is available on Amtrak (granted, it's the 90 minute IPA, which clocks in at 9% ABV, yowsers). But back to the Punkin Ale - yes I am spelling it correctly, the name stems (pun intended) from Delaware's Annual Punkin Chunkin, which is scheduled to take place this coming weekend. The Punkin Ale tastes of cinnamony sweet with just the right hint of pumpkin flavor. It isn't too over powering, it's just smooth, almost too smooth. Note: It's high octane at 7% alcohol volume. Drink wisely.

It's even better served up at Town Hall, where they dazzle up the rim of a frosty glass with cinnamon and sugar. Heavenly goodness.

Shipyard's Pumpkin Ale is another favorite with a different kind of spice. Now, this is where I believe my home brewing pal that declares not all pumpkin ales contain pumpkin. Interesting. I was unable to confirm the ingredients in Pumpkinhead so the jury is still out on this one, but actual pumpkin or not, it is what a pumpkin should taste like, packed and loaded with lots of flavors.

Most breweries release their pumpkin ales during the months of September and October, so as we are nearing the end of the season, I recommend you consider stocking up. A little advance planning will make you the star of this year's Thanksgiving, assuming you share your pumpkin spirits...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

When Life gives you Apples, make Applesauce!

We went apple picking with some friends at one of the local farms and of course the excitement of picking our own apples resulted in a bushel of apples that would comfortably feed a family of twenty.  With so many apples I was able to give a good old college try to any and all recipes apple.  I ventured into making apple crisp, apple crumble, apple streusel, and apple you-name-it, until our home was flooded with too many lingering apple desserts.  Yes, the desserts were amazing, but healthy not so much.  So, I started to look for some lighter options as to what to do with our bushel.

Applesauce is a perfectly healthy and delicious snack food or dessert. Kids love it, adults love it, and most importantly, I love it. It pairs perfectly well with pork chops, or shines just on its own.

At first I was shocked by how simple the recipe is, but then again, I did remember we made applesauce as a project when I was in kindergarten.  Granted, mostly I remember it entailed dancing around the kiddie lockers while the teacher made us a snack; I wasn't as into the act of cooking at that point in time, being five years-old and all.  Anyway, enough babbling, check out the recipe below, and do give it a try:

1 Apple (1 Apple per serving/person)
1/4 cup of Water
1 teaspoon Sugar or Sugar Substitute
Optional: Cinnamon and Nutmeg


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Luke's Lobster

Freshly caught Lobster rolls can be readily found in small towns lining the north eastern coast - Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut - you want it, they've got it.  So what happens when a boy growing up on the coast moves inland to the city?  In walks Luke's Lobster.

A Georgetown University grad, Luke Holden had the brilliant idea to give the metro markets  something that they had greatly been missing - a quality lobsta roll.  With his dad owning a seafood processing company in Maine, he already had a trusty supplier on board. The first Luke's opened in NYC, but Luke travelled down south to set up shop in his Alma mater shortly thereafter.

Hands down, this is the best Lobster roll in the city. There's none of that mayonnaise or other filling masking the essence and true ingredient of the roll, this is legit! It's chunky bits of oh-so-tasty lobster and I love it. (I do get mine toasted without butter - fyi)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Brixton at 9th and U Street

Every once in a while we like to venture outside our beloved Georgetown to explore other neighborhoods of the city. This past weekend, I traded in my Sperrys and reached for my Toms as we headed over to the Brixton.

Brixton is a multi-cultural melting pot located in south London. Playing off the ethnicity of its namesake, the menu at DC's Brixton not only offers the standard fish and chips and other British pub fare, but you'll also see more ethnic staples like Jerk Chicken, Thai Curry, and Indian Tiffin or Thali.

We cozied on up to the second floor bar and marveled at the many British beers offered on tap.  Legit. Order up - two pints of Wells Bombardier, please. They also have some of my favorite bottled brews like Old Speckled Hen and Banana Bread, yum...

On to the food... The Sticky Toffee French Toast was truly incredible. When asked how it was, the staff forewarned of its dessert-like quality, but I'm glad I trusted my own instincts and went for it. Soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside, it was heaven melting in my mouth. Share? Do I have to? I had no problem being crowned Queen of the clean plate club.

The English breakfast was your standard full breakfast with two eggs over easy, house made sausage, slow-cooked pork and beans, a salty black pudding, and a tomato, perfectly roasted. Classic.

The decor is exactly as it should be. Look up to find antler chandeliers between dark wood beams. Welcoming fireplaces, cozy couches, and gold studded leather chairs invite you to kick back and relax. Paintings hang upon the walls next to portraits of olde.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Quilted Coats

It's that time of year where it is cold enough to grab a jacket, but the temperature hasn't fallen enough to reach for the heavy winter wear. Quilted Coats are perfectly in season. Here are some of my favorites:

You can't go wrong with a Barbour Vintage Quilted Jacket. Whether it is their Heritage, Classic, or Lifestyle collection, Barbours are timeless additions to any wardrobe. As far as colors, the Olive is truly the original, but the jacket also comes in a lovely Black or Brown.

Same goes for the Burberry Quilted Jacket. There's a reason these two brands continue to bring back the same style, year after year.  For the most wear for the buck, I'd go with the Black coat. It's befitting of almost every outfit - casual or cocktail. Although, if you're feeling like you want to have a little fun, go for flare with the Red. New Chino (khaki) and Trench (cream) are also nice choices.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Metropolitan, Whit Stillman, and Damsels in Distress

Please tell me you've seen Metropolitan, yes?

Written and directed by Whit Stillman, the narrative takes place in Manhattan, but rumor has it that the plot is loosely based upon Whit's own personal experience growing up, which would put him in my beloved Nation's capital, and Georgetown nonetheless.

Metropolitan is a classic satire of the "up and up" crowd with twenty-somethings acting like forty-somethings and beyond, already taking their place in aristocracy (or at least thinking they are). Take some classic quotes from the Nick Smith character: "It's a tiny bit arrogant of people to go around worrying about those less fortunate" or "Driver, follow that pedestrian!" but at least rounded out with "I used to have to use those doors when people forgot to invite me to their parties." Distorted perception, preconceived outlook, or just plain senseless?

I love that the story isn't intense or hard to follow, so it's great for those days where you just want to kick back, relax - maybe open a bottle of wine - and enjoy the show. It's real nostalgia, even if it is someone else's story.

P.S. I think I love Metropolitan even more now knowing (thanks to a little pre-post blog research) that Whit financed the film by selling his apartment in NYC. Bold move, Whit... but very well worth it! Thank you from all of us.

Throughout the nineties, Whit had a thriving film career, having written and directed three successful movies. After his third film was released in 1998, Whit took a hiatus from Hollywood, and many feared that the departure would become permanent. Until...  in 2011, it had been over 10 years since Whit had released a film, in comes Damsels in Distress.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Eataly in NYC

So what exactly is this Eataly? It's pretty much heaven to all Foodies.  Rooting originally from Turin, Italy, a couple of famous chefs and restaurateurs, including Mario Batali, joined together to bring this dreamland to reality in the Big Apple. And so, speaking of apples...

Fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh meats and cheeses... local when it can be, imported from Italy when it needs to be. Made in house when it should be. All in season. Quality ingredients for quality products. That's Eataly.

When it comes to pasta, the motto is "Keep it simple to keep it right". The selection of fresh, house made pasta is endless. They also carry almost every kind of quality dry pasta brand known to mankind, mostly imported directly from Italy. We happened to stumble upon some of the guys hard at work:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ivy Style @ FIT

The much anticipated Ivy Style Exhibition at the Museum at FIT in NYC is running now through January 5th. Check it out while you still can. Some highlights from our recent visit below:

For starters, the “Ivy” reference is not due to the green plant that climbs the prestigious University buildings, as lovely as it may be, but rather it is literally the Roman numerals IV, meaning four, representing the four Universities – Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia – that made up the initial League conference.
When it comes to style, Ivy has become synonymous with Preppy, likely due to many of the private Prep schools filtering their students into Ivy League schools, and thus the stylish attire was being introduced at an even riper age with the young gents getting ready for the big Leagues.

In the original Ivy Style, the slacks did not come with pleats, but they did indeed come with cuffs. And as far as suit coats, you won’t be seeing any darts here…

Of course, J.Press was everywhere in the Exhibit. What cracked me up was that the style and make of the Suits, Tweeds, and Blazers of the ‘60s and ‘70s are the exact same as what you can buy in J.Press today. There is something wonderful to be said for this. J.Press makes clothes that both fit well and comfortably. Why change a good thing? They know not to.

Speaking of Blazers, did you know the name comes from the Cambridge University Boat Club’s originally designed jacket, which was a coat made of “blazing” red fabric? The style of the jacket – its piping, pocket patch, and nautical metal buttons – was soon adopted by the U.S. Though the Navy color became more popular, replacing the British Red, the name of the sports jacket still did stick.

Monday, October 8, 2012

High Five: Bags with Great Lakes Prep

The High Five is a series that explores the five favorite things in a certain category. The following are Nick of Great Lakes Prep's five favorite bags. You can view my High Five post on his blog. If you’d like to participate in future posts, please send an email to Nick.
There were two criteria to earn a spot on my High Five.  I've had way too much experience with handles on suitcases being jammed or straps on duffels detaching or zippers breaking so the bags on my list had to be durable.  And I'm always an advocate of buying products made in the USA if they are a viable option to ones made overseas, so all the bags are both durable and made right here in America.  Here's my High Five bags.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sailors, Re-Sail

These days we are all trying to go green – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – and now, Re-sail.

What is Re-Sails? It’s this cool concept shop that takes used or torn sails and recycles them to make bags, clothing, and other apparel accessories, likes hats, belts, wallets, etc.

So to all you sailors out there, gather your weathered sails and donate them to this worthy cause. Go ahead and special order a Re-sail item of your own, custom made with that Main or Jib that you just don't have the heart to throw away, despite it having reached its retirement.

They even make throw pillows (perfect for the cockpit).

 And how cool is this garment bag!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Time Keeper

Being, as we say in DC, "originally" from Michigan, just outside Detroit nonetheless, I have a soft spot in my heart for Mitch Albom. He has not let me down before with his amazing Tuesdays with Morrie or The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Have you read either one of these yet? If not, you should.

Recently, my buddy Mitch, released a new treat, The Time Keeper. We check the time, we follow time, we keep time, or does time keep us? 

The story is told in his typical writing style - clean, simple, and easy to read. If you haven't already, I'd recommend grabbing a copy soon, because I have a feeling that Hollywood is going to try to get this one up on the big screen.

As a side note, I highly recommend this book to my spin instructor, who is constantly telling me to stop keeping time by counting down the clock and to try to live in the moment.  During spinning, really?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Oktoberfest at Old Europe

Contrary to popular belief, the 16-day festival known as Oktoberfest actually begins in the month of September, and ends the first weekend in October (better get to catching up, if you haven't started your celebrations already). The festival roots back to the early 1800s and was essentially an outdoor fair - die Wiesn. It's the basis behind the festival - the eat, drink, and be merry - that has brought about such popularity worldwide, after all who isn't looking for another excuse to drink more beer?

In DC there's no place better to celebrate Oktoberfest than at good Old Europe. Order up some brews - a half liter (normal), liter (super-sized), or up the ante for das boot! Just make sure you have a friend nearby to help get you home if you order the boot...

 After a beer, or two, or three, don't forget to order up some classic German grub to soak up the fuzzy feeling. Otherwise, the portraits of the old guys on the walls may start pulling a Harry Potter on you.

Pretzel and Beer Cheese