RequinDC Pop-Up, Mosaic District, Merrifield, VA

Recently, some friends and I went to RequinDC‘s Pop-up, located in the Mosaic District in Merrifield, VA. The restaurant is run by former Top Chef alumni, Jen Carroll and is in partnership with Mike Isabella’s Concepts. I am so glad that Chef Carroll has come to Washington, D.C. to show off her amazing talents.

The evening did not disappointed. The food which is French Mediterranean-inspired was amazing!

Veggie Platter

We started out with the Veggie Platter. A wonderful array of vegetables which included: Celery Root “Pastrami”; very smoky and savory, Eggplant Tomato Ratatouille; rich and flavorful, Curried Cucumber; presented like “noodles” complimented with a curry sauce and Blistered Shishito Peppers, which were charred and smoky.

RequinDC Veggie Platter

Roasted Root Vegetables Salad

The endives, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette complimented the three kinds of beets.

RequinDC Roasted Root Vegetable Salad
Legume Salad

The tangy, mustard vinaigrette enhanced the watercress greens and is served with warm, cannellini beans, crunchy, haricot verts and pieces of croutons.

RequinDC Legume Salad
Kabocha Squash

How can you go wrong with anything in a puff pastry? The pastry is layered with this sweet, winter squash and topped with the earthiness of hen of the woods mushrooms. This was my favorite. I could of eaten it by myself!

RequinDC Kaboucha Squash
Braised Pork Shank

The braised pork was moist and fell off the bone. The waiter poured the pork jus all over the dish at the table and was delicious with the creamy, squash risotto and pickled carrots.

RequinDC Braised Pork Shank
Desserts

You need to save room for dessert or at least share with your dinner companions.  The chocolate soufflé is served with hazelnut ice cream. Take the pieces of praline and dump it on the soufflé which make each bite that much more decadent.

RequinDC Chocolate Soufflé

The profiteroles are drizzled with warm scotch caramel, crunchy pistachios, candied kumquats and yummy brown butter ice cream.

RequinDC Profiterole

The spongy pumpkin spice cake is super-moist and served with yogurt ice cream. I especially like the pieces of sweetened roasted pumpkin that is sprinkled on the dish.

RequinDC Pumpkin Cake

Requin is in Mosaic only until April before it moves to its permanent home at the new Wharf development on D.C.’s Waterfront in 2017. Do yourself a favor: don’t wait that long. My advice, Go, now! You will be treated to a worth while dining experience!

My Favorite Bites of 2015

Next Great Bite Best Bites of 2015As 2015 comes to a close, it is a time to take a look back on the year. Here is a list of my favorite bites. They include bites from the Washington, D.C. area. But I have also included some of my favorite bites from my travels this year.

Dining in the Washington, D.C. Area 

Aeroperto
China Chilcano, Washington, D.C.

ChinaChilcano

This fried rice dish and egg noodles has seasonal vegetables, soy sprouts and chicken. It is topped with crispy, thinly-sliced, sweet potatoes. Adds a nice crunch to this savory dish. Delish!

Maryland Blue Crab Roll
Barrel & Bushel, Tysons, VA

BarrelandBushel

This is the most amazing crab roll I have ever had. Big pieces of crab poached in butter served with a touch of mayo on a brioche roll. I got mine with this fresh, side B&B salad that has tender lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, farmers cheese and dressed with lemon and olive oil. A great compliment to this amazing sandwich. Worth getting!

Knish “Turnpike” Style
Buffalo & Bergen, Washington, D.C.

Cheddar and Bacon Knish Buffalo Bergen

Delicately wrapped potato-cheddar and bacon knish in pastry. Getting the knish “turnpike” brings it to a whole new level. Drizzled with melted butter and topped with minced garlic and parsley. It comes with a side of sour cream and chives.

Thai Curry Puff
Bangkok 54, Arlington, VA

Bangkok54

This savory appetizer is filled with potatoes and it is seasoned with curry and asian herbs and covered with flaky, puff pastry dough.  It is complimented with a cucumber and red onion relish sauce.

Fontina Focaccia Bruschetta
Ozzie’s Corner, Fairfax VA

Bruschetta Ozzie Corner

The focaccia is split in half and is fillled with sharp fontina cheese. They grill it until it is crispy and golden brown. Topped with fresh plum tomatoes and mozzarella. Then, it is drizzled with sweet, syrupy balsamic vinegar. It comes to the table with the cheese oozing out of the sides. I call it a “grown up’s” grilled cheese.

Gocua
Ser, Arlington, VA

SER

Served cold, this layered dessert has strawberries, cream, sponge cake, custard. Delicious! The presentation is just beautiful!

Poppyseed Ricotta Fritters
Vermillion, Alexandria, VA

Vermillion

These fluffy fritters are served with blueberry jam, vanilla bean mascarpone and whipped cream ice cream.

Outside of the D.C. Area

Fried Green Tomato BLT
Yardbird, Las Vegas, NV

Fried Green Tomato BLT

These fried green tomatoes are topped with smoked pork belly, tomato jam, pimento cheese and crispy, frisee. It is like having the best of the south all in one bite.

Tricolor Salad
Giada’s, Las Vegas, NV

Tricolore Salad

This salad is served with crispy prosciutto, gorgonzola, dates, walnuts and a trio of greens which included kale, endive and radicchio. This salad sets up the rest of a delicious meal.

Grilled Artichokes
Lupo Italian Kitchen, Rehoboth Beach, DE

Lupo

This is my favorite restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. This appetizer is worth ordering. The grilled artichokes are seasoned with sea salt, lemons, capers, herbs and olive oil. After you finish the artichokes, the leftover oil is delicious to dip your warm, italian bread that is served with your meal.

Happy New Years! Hope 2016 brings some delicious dining experiences. Thank you for following my blog. Make sure you check out my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google profiles.

Foodie Travel: Dining in Vegas, Middle of The Strip

Recently, I took a trip to Las Vegas for business. In Vegas, you can always find any kind of food you want, no matter what you are craving. With some of the best restaurants and celebrity chefs from around the country; there are so many choices.

Here are some of my favorite bites:

Bouchon-The Venetian Las Vegas

Bouchon, in the Venetian, is one of my favorites. You can always get a great meal. There are so many scrumptious items to choose from their mouth-watering menu. Very casual and great service. Meals start with french bread from the Bouchon Bakery and warm pistachios. The Boudin Blanc, a white sausage, with potato purée and dried french plums to go with each bite of the sausage, was delicious.

Spago-Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

I still love going to Spago in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace year after year. It is the most quiet of all the restaurants that I went to, which makes for a nice meal to getaway from the excitement and energy of Vegas. Service was exceptional. And the menu highlighted fall items.  Save room for their desserts. The Dark Chocolate Soufflé was worth ordering and takes time to make. Each bite was so decadent.

Yardbird-The Venetian Las Vegas

Yardbird was a fun place to try. Very lively. The menu features southern cuisine. We ordered a lot of different items to get a sampling and it was perfect for a late night bite. The Fried Green Tomato BLT was with smoked pork belly, tomato jam, pimento cheese and crispy frisee. It was having the best of the south all in one bite. Deviled Eggs were tangy and creamy and topped with smoked trout roe. The Warm Farmer’s Cheese & Watermelon was a refreshing bite. And the charred Heirloom Tomatoes with creamy, fresh ricotta cheese, sea salt and chili oil was delicious and a tasty combination.

Giada-The Cromwell Las Vegas

Giada is the hot spot restaurant on the strip. Nice view of the Bellagio fountains. And when the restaurant opens their windows, it is a great way to enjoy Vegas views above the bustle of traffic and pedestrians. The antipasti side of the menu gives you lots of options to share. My favorites were the Chicken Marsala Meatballs served with bright red cherry tomatoes and savory sauce of roasted wild mushrooms. Tasty. Gilda’s Caprese salad with creamy, buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and syrupy, dark, vincatto reduction. And the highlight, the Tricolor Salad with prosciutto, gorgonzola, dates, walnuts and a trio of greens which included kale, endive and radicchio. Yum!

The Creperie-Paris Las Vegas Hotel

I confess. Crepes are my guilty pleasure. The Paris Hotel‘s La Creperie has the best crepes this side of the Atlantic. A great late night bite if you want something simple, fast and true comfort food. The crepes are light and fluffy. We ordered these two crepes, one savory and one sweet. The ham and gruyère cheese crepe was covered with creamy béchamel sauce and sprinkled with micro-greens. The sweet crepe of nutella had banana, caramel sauce, chantilly cream and covered with candied hazelnuts. Just heavenly.

Just goes to show you, you can get anything you want to eat in Vegas.

 

Three-Course Dinner and Book Signing with Brian Voltaggio, Family Meal, Ashburn, VA

You may have read in one of my earlier blog posts, Family Meal is one of my favorite restaurants. I love the casual atmosphere and the farm-to-table driven menu. When Family Meal announced that they would host a special three-course meal and book signing with Brian Voltaggio, I had to jump at the chance.

Appetizers

We started out with a sampling of some of Family Meals’ customer-favorite appetizers. My favorite: the Deviled Ham with Eggs. I never order these before but I think I am going to have to start. What makes them special is the deviled ham at the bottom of the whipped egg yolks. Yummy! The Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies were also a favorite with a crispy, crunchy outside and the gooey, peppery, cheese inside.

First Course

We ordered the Collard Greens Caesar Salad with romaine and greens served with a house caesar dressing and crisped, cornflake-coated oysters. And a Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho with basil oil and a watermelon granita. Refreshing!

Second Course

For the second course, we ordered the spaghetti and meatballs with a pomodoro sauce and mozzarella focaccia. And the roasted sea bass with cranberry sea beans, shiitake mushrooms and lemon butter. The spaghetti and meatballs are only served on the kids’ menu and not on the regular menu. But it just goes to show you that it is a dish that satisfies both adults and kids.

Dessert

Home book and dessert

Dinner ended with these amazing desserts. Caramel Corn Sundae with peanut butter ice cream drizzled with caramel. And the goat cheesecake with blueberry-gin compote and chocolate graham cracker crust. This dessert is not usually on the menu and was a feature for this special dinner. But Family Meal needs to reconsider that. It is one of my favorite dessert that I have ever had at Family Meal. Tangy and creamy.

Highlight of the evening was having Chef Brian Voltaggio come to the table and talk with us. He personalized and signed my book of Home. A great evening and one of my favorite dining experiences!

Staycation: Day Tripping in Winchester, VA

Winchester, Virginia is little over an hour from Washington, D.C. It is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Winchester has something for everyone. There are historic sites and museums, shopping along the Old Town pedestrian mall or just strolling the quaint streets and looking at the historic architecture around town.

After walking around, it was time for lunch. After all, this is a food blog. We walked to a great little barbecue place about 12 minutes from the town center called Bonnie Blue Southern Market and Bakery. It is a full service bakery and market that has seasonal produce, a variety of baked goods and large smokers out back serving up some delicious barbecue. Bonnie Blue Winchester VA storefront

Bonnie Blue menu
The menu has a wide variety of smoked meats and fishes. Most of the platters come with two sides.

I ordered the pulled pork platter, which came with two sides. I chose the collard greens and the fried apples, since we were in apple country. It came with a huge slice of grilled cornbread on the side. It was delicious! The greens were a bit spicy and I loved the way there was smoky, bits of meat in the greens. And the apples complimented the pork nicely. Sitting outside under one of the umbrella picnic tables was definitely one of those great summer pleasures. Bonnie Blue Barbecue Pull Pork Platter

On the way back to DC, we decided to stop at a vineyard for a nice glass of wine at one of Virginia’s wineries. We stopped at Bluemont Vineyard in Loudoun County off of Route 7. We drove up a steep and winding road. When we got to the top, we were amazed to see a stunning view of the valley below. It was well worth the trip. The vineyard is relaxing. It is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the Virginia countryside and sip on some delicious wines.

Bluemont Vineyard
Stunning views from Bluemont Vineyard.

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