Thursday, May 17, 2012

Update on Our Balcony Herb Garden

Look at this beautiful herb garden.  I'm such a proud mama.  The truth is that they haven't even grown to their full potential.  Some of them are just babies right now and I can't pluck their leaves to garnish my dishes just yet.  The mint on the upper left of the picture is a plant that we purchased last year and grew brown over the winter but has bloomed again. "Bourby" is struggling just a bit but produced enough leaves to garnish several Mint Juleps for the Cinco de Mayo/Kentucky Derby party we had.  Some new herbs that have been added to the mix are dill, purple basil and greek oregano.

This is the perfect time to head out to the farmers markets and pick up some herbs.  You can find organic herbs for under $3 and if planted well and cared for, will be great garnishes for summer dishes.  I picked up at few at the Clarendon outdoor market a couple of weeks ago and the cilantro is doing well. I am keeping my fingers crossed because my cilantro plant died in mid June last summer.  You can also find good deals at garden shops.  Home Depot had a crazy sale a few weeks back and I picked up a few plants for $1.77 each.  The true test of my gardening skills is if I can successfully grow cherry tomatoes from the TopsyTurvy contraption my parents gave me.

For a list of local farmers markets in the DC area, check FreshFarm Markets or Markets&More.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chipotle Sponsors FreshFarm Markets

Chipotle restaurants in the DC area will be donating 50% of their sales to FreshFarm Markets tonight from 5pm to 8pm.  This is an amazing sponsorship for FreshFarm Markets who work really hard at making local farm fresh produce available to DC residents throughout the year.  FreshFarm Markets contributes so much to why I love living and working in the DC area.  Being able to walk out of my office door and have the "By the White House Farmers Market" a short walk away every Thursday is a treat.

Please head to Chipotle tonight for dinner and support this great group.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Just A Little Bit of Something Sweet

I consider this a thank you letter to Virtue, Feed, and Grain in Alexandria, VA. "Thank you for being different than most DC restaurants. Thank you for writing a menu that is thoughtful and entertaining to read. And most of all, thank you for providing dessert options that are 1/3 of what most places would charge."

Seeing the dessert menu after a good meal is normally disappointing to me. Most of the time, you can't find anything under $6 and if it is, it is a small scoop of sorbet. I can't stomach the thought of dropping that much money on dessert when I really only want that little bite of something sweet. Just a nibble will do. I have dragged Marshall to the grocery store after a dinner out to pick up a $3.50 pint of Ben and Jerry's so that I could eat one spoonful and put the rest in the freezer. I felt good that the $3.50 quenched my sweets-thirst but also was put away for future use.

We stopped by Virtue, Feed, and Grain yesterday and I am glad we did. The restaurant is fun, comfortable, and unapologetic about just wanting to serve good food with no fluff. It delighted me that a glass of whole milk was an option on the menu. Who does that? Apparently, these folks.

And here is where I want to give them my round of applause. The dessert menu listed Vanilla Ice Cream for $1.50. I was so shocked that I had to check with the waitress. "Can I really order just a scoop of vanilla ice cream and only be charged $1.50?". "Yes you can," was her reply. Respect. I felt like the owners of that restaurant placed that vanilla ice cream on the menu at that price as a symbol of their respect for the customers. I have to tell them, "I respect you for putting that $1.50 scoop of vanilla ice cream on the menu."

It doesn't end there. The "Specials" menu had a Carrot Cake Cupcake for $2. Whoa. This is beginning to be too much for me. $2?!?!? Even the local Safeway gouges at least $3.25 for their mini-bombs of glossy sugar. I ordered the cupcake and was even more pleased when I was presented with a standard-size cupcake and not a bite-size cupcake. Again, I felt it. Respect.

Marshall and I will be back soon to try out the entrees. And I am looking forward to it.