Monthly Archives: February 2009

Good Dinner Wine

A couple of my friends arbitrarily bought a few bottles of this Smoking Loon wine from Whole Foods for a dinner party because of its moderate price. Everyone loved it and ever since then, I’ve seen it in many grocery stores and liquor stores. I especially recommend the reds– my favorite is the Syrah. bottleshot-sl-zn1

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Roadtrip to Durham, NC

This past weekend I took a ride down to Durham to visit some friends at Duke University. During my stay in the eclectic city, I was able to sample many of the various cuisines the city has to offer. My culinary tour of the area began with some North Carolina BBQ– ribs, mac and cheese, hushpuppies, pulled pork. etc. While Southern cuisine has never been my favorite as I was raised primarily on the Mediterranean diet, Q Shack seemed like an appropriate stop to make. I was told Q Shack wasn’t a truly authentic example of North Carolina barbeque by a native (so picky) but I think it did the trick.

Steak Frites at Vin Rouge

Steak Frites at Vin Rouge

For dinner I went to a great spot called Vin Rouge. Reasonably priced and delicious, this little French bistro not only had great food but also had a pretty extensive wine list. It is a great place for a romantic date or a group dinner. I ordered a beet salad that offered a generous portion of lettuce, beets, and goat cheese, and a tasty pot of mussels in white wine, thyme, and shallots. I also sampled the New York Strip with crispy french fries. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting the area. If only DC had a few more places with great food at those prices. It did remind me a bit of Bistrot Lepic up Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown.

My weekend ended with a late-night trip to Cosmic Cantina for a burrito for the road. I love burritos and this place did not dissapoint. It is the definition of a hole in the wall– you need to walk through the door for a ballet studio and up the stairs to find it. Dirt cheap food and beer, this place is great for college kids and anyone craving Mexican.

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Simple Shrimp Scampi

If you like shrimp and garlic, this scampi recipe is for you. This is an original Pierre Franey recipe (known for his column on 60 Minute Gourmet for The New York Times) that my mom has been recreating for years. With only a few ingredients, this scampi is easy, fast, healthy, and delicious. It is a consistent crowd-pleaser.

For 4 servings:
1 pound shrimp, de-veined, tail on (fish market can do this for you if desired), rinsed and dried
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
1 slice good quality white bread, toasted, and cut into small cubes
1 large clove garlic, minced (more if desired)
1 tsp dried oregano

Fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, minced (I like a lot but at least 1 Tablespoon)
salt to taste

Place shrimp in a bowl and toss with the oil, bread crumbs, garlic, oregano, parsley, and salt. Place in a shallow pan in a single layer. Broil on high for approx. 5-6 minutes or until cooked (but keep checking to be sure it doesn’t burn). It’s OK to stir if it is cooking unevenly. Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

Shrimp 1

I usually like to serve the shrimp over rice (either rice pilaf or basmati) but I recently served it with whole wheat linguine and liked the way it turned out. Before I served the shrimp over the pasta, I mixed the linguine with 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice from 1 lemon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.

As for a veggie, red peppers sauteed in olive oil with curry powder surprisingly complements the dish well. The shrimp is also good with a standard green vegetable such as steamed broccoli or string beans and/or salad.

Shrimp 2

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