It's that time of year where everyone craves to be outside... Maybe it's because the winter keeps us hibernated, or maybe it's because most of our jobs keep us cooped up indoors during the day - most likely a combination of both... but whatever it may be, we are itching to be in the great outdoors.
In DC it can be hard to beat the heat. There is a window of opportunity to get outside and still stay comfortable until August rolls around and the humidity of the swampland presents itself.
So, in the meantime, here are a couple of my favorite DC outdoor venues:
OPTION # 1 - ST. ARNOLD'S
When the hubby wants to watch some soccer games, but I can't be indoors all day without pulling out some crazy cabin fever, in comes St. Arnold's Mussel Bar...
St. Arnold's in Cleveland Park provides for both an indoors and outdoors atmosphere all-in-one. It's a glass enclosed garage-like operation where they lift up the windows, which makes for perfect seating on a mild summer's day (breeze welcome). Over the bar are a few TV sets, so you do get the best of both worlds.
Word on the street has it that grilled fruit is
going to be hot (pun intended) this summer. Take two things I love - fruit and
grilling... I can dig it.
Seasonally, at least here in Texas, it is the start
of peach season. Yummy. But sadly, due to temperamental weather in March and
hail storms hitting the Hill Country, the famous Fredericksburg peaches are few
and far between this year. The other day we did find a peach stand alongside
the road, and stopped to grab a bushel, but the farmer informed us that the
season was going to be short. So get in your peaches now, while you
With that all in mind, I stumbled
across this recipe (thanks BuzzFeed!) for a Grilled Peach Salad. We gave it a try, and it
was wonderful. Highly recommended. Recipe below with a few side comments
noted in italics. SALAD INGREDIENTS:
We were at Martin's when I was curiously questioning why they had already started decorating so early for July 4th. The tavern was covered in stars and stripes. As it turns out, June 14th is National Flag Day. Duh... While not officially declared the first flag of the U.S., after overtaking the British in Boston, George Washington's army hoisted a flag with 13 alternating red-and-white stripes and the design of the British Union Jack flag in the upper left-hand corner, or the canton. They called it the Grand Union flag. But then... The first Flag Act of 1777 (with two more Flag Acts to follow) declared the actual design of the first U.S. flag, commonly known as the Betsy Ross flag. It features 13 red-and-white stripes with 13 white stars in a blue canton, all symbolizing the original 13 colonies forming the Union.
Many of the original 13 states continue to wave the Betsy Ross flag to this day. It's my favorite flag design.
Eventually, more states meant more stars... By 1794, there were 15 states, resulting in 15 stars and 15 stripes on our Nation's flag. This, in turn, amended the Flag Act (Act 2).
In 1818 came the third, and final, change to the Flag Act, reverting back to the 13 original colony stripes. The stars were noted to correspond to the number of states in the union - smart Congressmen, third time was a charm to get the proper wording to avoid future amendments. By 1960 our Nation grew to 50 states (welcome Hawaii!), and 50 stars, providing for the current day design of the flag of the U.S.A., but it's still fun to marvel in the glory of the earlier designs.
In a town that seems to be (for better or worse) embracing a lot of change, here is a place that has faithfully stayed the same.
Nau's Pharmacy (pronounced "Now's") is an Austin landmark. Father and sons have been frequenting the place for generations, and hopefully there are many more to come.
Where else can you go to get a burger while filling your prescription?
No, they don't serve up any fries with that hamburger, but come on people, we are in the back end of a pharmacy and there are plenty of bags of chips to choose from, should that fit your fancy. Me, I was happy with just that tasty burger.
Many places claim a hand-packed milkshake, but at Nau's, you actually sit and watch behind the counter as all of the ingredients are mixed together. I highly recommend the malt, an upgraded milkshake. We asked the server what the difference was between a milkshake and a malt, and he said the malt ingredient. I don't know what this mystery malt ingredient is, but it is amazing.
My sisters had made three appointments to go dress shopping for the weekend, Mom and Grandma included. In the weeks prior I had been surfing magazines and kept tagging the same dress in five different magazines. We arrived at the first dress shop, I showed the attendant the dress that I had clipped from the magazine, she brought it out, I tried it on, and that was it. "Don't you want to try on any others?" My mom asked. They brought out two more dresses, and I obligingly tried them on, but it was the first dress that made my face light up. We cancelled the other two appointments and got an early lunch with some champagne to celebrate.
The men wore Morning Suits with tails and Ascot ties. Thank you to Anthony's Tuxedos for making the men look so handsome!
Now, I'm notorious for not following recipes, taking two or three different ideas and combining them into my own vision, but the wonderful simplicity of this recipe made any tweaking unnecessary. So, in this rare instance, I followed the recipe step for step, ingredient by ingredient, and would make it again in a heartbeat. The recipe is listed below: Ingredients 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed 1 large shallot, finely chopped 1 small tomato, finely chopped 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 8 ounces thin green beans or haricots verts 3/4 cup cornmeal 8 3-ounce trout fillets, pin bones removed 1/2 cup half-and-half
Directions Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until just soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato, vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon tarragon and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Place the green beans in a large microwave-safe bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; keep warm. Put the cornmeal in a shallow bowl. Dredge the fish in the cornmeal, shaking off the excess. Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the fish and cook until golden, turning once, about 5 minutes. (Add more butter between batches, if needed.) Transfer the fish to plates. Return the sauce to medium heat. Add the half-and-half, bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon and 1/2 tablespoon butter and season with salt. Serve the fish with the green beans and top with the sauce.
* This recipe is courtesy of Food Network Magazine *