Get the Greek

Hey ya’ll! So far it has been a great Saturday. It is my day off from being a total health freak, so I had some Phil’s hamburger and have not been obsessing about my fitbit steps (which I totally treat like a competitive game). Anyways so today I’m giving ya’ll a restaurant review today about another amazing meal I ate when I was in Washington. After our day of the zoo and museums, we ended up going to Zaytinya, a Greek restaurant. I haven’t had that much Greek food, so I didn’t really know what to expect. How I was delighted after the experience.

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To start out the meal, we had an order of baba ghanoush. It had a little olive oil and some pomegranate seeds in it. This was so delicious. Instead of your typical bread, we ended up getting hot pita served with the meal. Oh how wonderful it was to dip into the spread. My brother chose this one, which I wasn’t expecting because normally being the typical Jews that we are would go for hummus or tzatziki. I was happy with this choice though. It was blended very well because sometimes baba ghanoush can taste a little grainy.

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These things are amazing. They were crispy brussels afelia. The dish had brussel sprouts, coriander, barberries, and garlic yogurt. This dish reminded me of the palak chaat from the night before. This time it was brussel sprouts instead of spinach. It was perfectly fried and the yogurt sauce provided a creamy cool texture. All of it mixed very well together. I probably could have eaten about three plates of these for my meals. I will definitely try to recreate these.

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Oh how we can’t stay away from fried things. It must be the southerner inside us or it is just that we appreciate good food. These were fried mussels. Yet again another meal with mussels. A different way of preparation though and these were definitely mind blowing. The bread on the outside of the mussel wasn’t too crispy or too soft. Inside the mussel was soft and fresh. Also the batter had a ton of Greek herbs in it, which added a nice flavor to the dish. These were a nice treat to the meal.

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This was a special of the night. It was lamb wrapped in phyllo dough. Underneath was a nice yogurt sauce that mixed well with the lamb. It had a little mint in it. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The phyllo dough was crispy on the outside and the lamb was so tender on the inside. My brother and I split a half of one. I was so happy that the waiter recommended it. Speaking of the waiter, David, he was so hilarious. He definitely brought a special thing to the meal. I don’t think it would have been as great without him.

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These were havuc koftesi. We ended up getting these because when I went to the bathroom there was a review from a top foodie magazine that recommended these as one of the best dishes the restaurant had to offer. While I disagree that this was the best dish, I still thought it was really good. It also was pretty healthy, so I felt good eating it. It had carrots, apricots, and pine nuts inside the little cakes. It was placed on a pistachio sauce. I loved the addition of the nuts not only in the cakes, but in the sauce too. I’m a sucker for pistachio flavored things, so I was really happy.

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This was another special of the night: a whole branzino fish. It was so tasty. The fish was incredibly fresh, it had a nice char along the topside of it, and it was incredibly flaky. We let my dad eat most of the fish since he didn’t get to enjoy all of the breaded products, but the few pieces I had were amazing. I was happy that we ended up ordering it. It was also nice that the entire thing was debonned. There is nothing nastier than having a bone in your mouth when you eat a bite of fish.

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After we had most of our meal, we decided to get two more dishes because my dad was still hungry. For one of them we got an order of scallops since there was only two on a plate. It was placed on top of a carrot puree and topped with orange and radish. My brother and I split a scallop. It was really delicious. I was a huge fan of their scallops.

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The second dish we got was a pork chop. It was on top of a yogurt sauce and had some mint spread rubbed on the top. The lamb was incredibly tender and just melted in your mouth. This was amazing. Pretty much as great as the lamb we had the night before at Rasika. Once again my brother and I split a lamb chop, so that my dad could have an entire one. I was glad we split it because at this point I was getting pretty full.

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Then my brother had to go and order five desserts. You thought four was a lot from the night before? Oh no five was a new level for him. Luckily the restaurant had the option of getting just tastings of desserts, so he got four tastings and one that was the real size. This dessert was Turkish delight, which I really enjoyed. It had walnut icecream, yogurt mousse, honey gelee, orange caramel sauce, and caramelized pine nuts. This was just a tasting size. I was shocked. It was huge. I loved the gelee part of this.

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This was a full size of a dessert. It was galatopita. It was sort of like an apple pie dessert. Semolina custard espuma, apples, crispy phyllo, almonds, and honey crisp apple sorbet. OMG SO GOOD. Seriously if you love apples and pie, get this. It was like a modern twist on the classic American favorite dish. My brother and I were in heaven eating this.

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This is the last dessert I actually took a picture of. Sometimes it is hard taking pictures of food around my brother and dad because as soon as the food comes out they want to dig in with their forks. This was a Turkish coffee cake with sea salt, mastiha ice cream, and pistachios. Yes pistachios again. My true love. This dish was really small. It was just a bite for all of us. The other two desserts were yogurt based parfaits. They were super tiny, but packed with a ton of flavor.

Overall this was an amazing meal. There was no bad dish, the service was amazing, and the atmosphere was nice. I was so happy that we ended up going here. Zaytinya is the place to go for Greek and Mediterranean food in DC. Also try to get David the waiter. He is epic. You will not be disappointed.

What is your favorite Greek dish?
Have you ever had more than one dessert?

 

Barley Swine (Take 2)

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been gone for a long time. I’ve been a busy bee. Traveling around the US, applying to graduate schools, and of course the busy work of being a senior in the undergraduate nutrition program while working on a review paper. What have I been up to food-wise? A LOT! So I’m going to bombard ya’ll with a crazy amount of posts about restaurants, recipes, and places I’ve eaten at on my travels. The other night my dad, my younger brother, and I went to the Barley Swine in Austin. We love this place so much because of the exquisite small plates that are offered there.

DSC02741This is grilled broccoli, fermented chili, and crushed duck egg. The crushed duck egg was creamy and smooth with a hint of garlic that melted perfectly in the mouth. The broccoli was crispy and was a nice combination with the fermented chili that was scattered around the plate. This was definitely one of my favorite dishes because of the garlic chips in the dish added a nice hint of flavor the already perfect dish.

DSC02742This was the second appetizer dish. One of the good thing about all the appetizer plates is that they are all vegetable based. On this plate were hay roasted beets, mole, crispy rice, and goat cheese. It was delicious. I’m not a big beet eater, but this definitely has changed my mind. The beets were soft, which was great when you added in the crispy rice since it gave it a nice crunch. The variety of flavors in the dish were amazing. I definitely will go for more beet dishes after this.

DSC02743This thing looks like a pile of goop.However it is an amazing pile of goop. Underneath the garlic chips there were bay scallops, cauliflower, masa, raisins, and chipotle. The chipotle provided a sweet smokey flavor to the dish. It was amazing. The scallops were tiny, which was nice because I hate when there are only one to three large scallops. The cauliflower was creamed into the sauce, so it wasn’t overwhelming.

DSC02744Hello to one of the greatest dishes of the night. This was goat, walnut, kohlrabi, fenugreek, wild rice, and green garlic. The goat was cooked to be extremely tender, so when you bit into the meat it fell apart in your mouth. That is my kind of meat. The sauce that went along with it was so creamy, and added a sweetness to the tender cooked meat.

DSC02745I’m still not sure what to think about this dish. It is a soft poached egg, celery, dill, popcorn, and fermented goats milk. Yes, I did say popcorn? I am not sure the popcorn was so great on the plate, but when you had a bite of the egg with the goats milk it was extremely delicious. The foam was one of the interesting parts about the dish. I was sort of ambivalent about the dish.

DSC02746This dish was perfection. This was a smoked steel head trout, fennel, pine, and shiitake mushrooms. This was like a high end and creative version of lox. It was like a Jewish girl’s heaven. All I needed was a fancy bagel to go along with this dish and it would have been like Saturday Kiddush bruncheon after services. This was one of the specials they had on the board, so if you go within the week definitely get this dish.

DSC02748This looks a little creepy, but I promise it is good. It is lamb sausage, mint, sunchoke, and bacon broth. BACON BROTH?!? Yes, one of the greatest things that has ever existed on the planet. I wish you could order bacon broth everywhere you went because it is just that amazing. The lamb sausage had a wide variety of flavors with a bit of a kick. It was spicy, but the perfect amount so it didn’t overwhelm you.

DSC02749I could eat ten of these plates because it was just that awesome. It had bacon, brussel sprouts, hot sauce, hay butter, and hoe cakes. I love the hoe cakes at Barley Swine. They are delicious. The bacon was thick square pieces that went along nicely with the crunch of the roasted brussel sprouts. The hot sauce on the plate had a nice addition. It was more of a sweet hot sauce, so it wasn’t too overwhelming to the palate.

DSC02750What is this? It is pig three ways. It is crispy trotter, pig’s face, and loin. The rest of the goods on the plate are pinto beans and sauerkraut. The crispy trotter was stuffed with foie gras and some cheese. That may have been my favorite because you definitely can’t go wrong with anything that is fried. However the pig face is also extremely delicious. They cook the face of the pig and once the meat is extremely tender, the chef cuts out the softest pieces to serve on the plate. The loin was delicious, but the others were my favorite.

DSC02751This dish was the best of the night. The picture is a little dark because the restaurant started to change the mood for an upcoming party at 7:30. This was duck, foie gras, carrot, lavendar, farro, and hibiscus. The duck was crispy on the outside and extremely tender on the inside. It was the perfect cooked duck. The foie gras was heaven. It was so soft and melted in your mouth as you combined it with the farro and cooked carrots. I wish I could have eaten this dish over and over again.

DSC02752Time for dessert. Always one of my favorite parts of the meal. This was a meyer lemon tart, basil, quinoa granola, and rooibos tea sorbet. The lemon was sour and sweet at the same time providing for a delicious treat.

DSC02753Chocolate heaven. I have a huge weakness for chocolate, so as soon as this dessert came out I had my spoon ready to dig in. My family laughed because they discovered my biggest weakness (they kept getting annoyed because I would slap their hands, so that I could take a photo of each plate). This was a milk chocolate ganache topped with sweet potato marshmallows, whiskey, and orange. I was in heaven. There was also chocolate meringue chips that topped the dessert. It was amazing. I had died and gone to a chocolate bliss world.

If you are ever in Austin, please please go to this restaurant. You should order 3-4 small plates per person in your group. We ordered everything, but then again we like to eat a lot of food to sample everything a place has to offer.

Have an awesome weekend! I’m off to watch Once Upon A Time and Revenge. I love being on spring break and having time to relax!

 

A Hectic Weekend

Hey ya’ll! This weekend is a little bit crazy for me. I am currently in the process of moving apartments. While I’m only moving a little ways down from where I live now, I still have accumulated a ton of junk. I’m not sure where it all came from because my current room is a small little hamster cage. Also this next week is my last week of summer school! So excited. I need a mental break. Even through all this stress, I had a pretty good saturday.

I woke up that morning and decided to have chocolate covered strawberry oats. They were pretty delicious and filling. That is one of the good things about oatmeal. It is filled with tons of fiber, so it keeps you full longer than other breakfast options like cold cereal. I couldn’t find the chocolate chips, so I sliced up a Hershey kiss instead.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Oats
1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1 1/2 c. water
1 packet of 20 calorie hot cocoa mix
1 c. sliced strawberries
handful of chocolate chips (I sliced up a Hershey kiss)
1 tsp vanilla
1 packet of stevia

1. Pour oatmeal and water into a microwaveable safe dish and heat for 2 minutes and 55 seconds.
2. Once cooked, add in vanilla and stevia.
3. Then place in cocoa mix, stirring well so that all of the oatmeal is chocolate.
4. Add in strawberries and chocolate chips, mix well.
5. If you want, add a little more for on top.

I was the first one up in my house (I was at my mom’s), and I ate this while I waited for everyone to wake up, so we could do some errands. Then my mom woke up, and we watched Serena’s Wimbledon match. It was pretty intense, but good thing she won. Next we ran some errands, and I found sound pretty great things.
Yes, I found Harry Potter in Hebrew at the library down the street from my mom’s. I was there returning some books, paying some fines, and I found this wonderful gem in the teen section. I guess it is because I live in a Jewish neighborhood, but I laughed and snapped a pic with my iPhone.

After all my errands, I ended up meeting my dad at the Whole Foods downtown in Austin. This is the greatest Whole Foods in the entire world. I’m not kidding. Since Austin is Whole Foods Headquarters, we have one of the greatest ones. We decided to sit at the fish station for a healthy and nutritious meal – since I’m pescatarian.

For my appetizer, I had a blackened tilapia taco. It was probably one of the best fish tacos I have had. The fish was crispy and flaky, the taco shell was crunchy, and the aioli sauce that topped it was spicy and rich. It was the perfect way to start the meal.

For my entree, I had scallops. They were placed over a bed of quinoa, kale, and roasted tomatoes. This was the first time I’ve ever had kale, and now I’m going to go out and buy a ton of it to eat. The kale was cooked in a bit of olive oil, which gave a nice flavor to the dish. The roasted tomatoes were great when I would put them on top of the scallop. Only sad thing was that I wish they placed more scallops on it. I love me some scallops. The even gave us a free square of chocolate because they gave us the wrong plates.

Of course I couldn’t go to Whole Foods and not buy anything. I was excited because they had a few products that I have seriously been searching for forever. The almond coconut milk was one of those things, and the pineapple upside down larabar was the other. Some other items I got to try were Justin’s vanilla almond butter, chocolate chip cherry torte larabar, halo nutty marshmallow bar, and dr. praeger’s littles broccoli (they are for kids, I thought they were cute). Some of my old favorites are Artic Zero cookies n cream, some rice noodles (I’m gonna be making spring rolls soon), and some puff cereal. I would have raided whole foods, but not on my wallet.

This is currently my apartment. The living room is piled with junk that I have to move into my car and then into my new apartment. Did I mention I live on the third story right now? It is an evil workout.

Since pretty much everything is packed, I decided to go to Which Wich for a salad. I got the Hula, which is ham and pineapple. It was pretty awesome. I got tomatoes, pickles, onions, banana peppers, mushrooms and black olives on top of it. This is a place I am definitely going to have to frequent in the fall. They probably will get to know me and better give me discounts. A girl can hope!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Sunday. I’ll be sweating buckets while I move all my junk.

Have you ever been to Which Wich?
Where is the best Whole Foods you have ever been to?