Tag Archives: Wine

Nommin’ Out: Dino’s Grotto

15 Jun

Happy Sunday! Planning an outing this week? A date or a ladies happy hour perhaps? Look no further than Dino’s Grotto, one of Shaw/U Street’s latest awesome additions on 9th street.  Previously located in Cleveland Park, Dino’s revamped restaurant features two levels, a robust and ever-changing Italian menu, and saucy wine descriptions.  My roommate read about Dino’s new location in this Thrillist article, so a group of us chicas checked it out last week for dinner and drinks.  And let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint.  Also, the happy hour is pretty terrific for all you winos out there.  Each glass is a healthy 8 ounce pour and $3 off during happy hour, which goes until 7pm.  I spent $12 on 3 enormous glasses of wine, which is borderline unheard of in the District.

photo 1 (4) photo 3 (4)

Below are some favorites from their rapidly-changing menu.  Thank goodness my friends are patient, and let me try and snap a perfect pic whilst staring longingly at their untouched food 🙂

The Burrata (Air freighted from Italy olive & red pepper purees – oven roasted tomato)

photo 2 (6)


Calamari Salad


photo 4 (2)

Duck Fat Potatoes (incredible)

photo 3 (3)

Meatballs (Truck patch pork, dartagnan veal, ricotta, bread, egg, spicy tomato sauce)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

photo 5 (2)

Mozzarella in Carrozza  (Fried italian mozzarella di bufala sandwich, egg, spicy sorrento tomato sauce)

picstitch (3)


Now go figure out a time this week to check it out!

Friendsgiving plus Famsgiving

4 Dec


Happy post-Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a marvelous Turkey day and gorged yourselves on perfectly moist turkey, flavorful stuffing, garlicky mashed ‘taters, and PIE (duh). I was fortunate enough to have not one, but two epic Thanksgiving meals.. yet another reason to take a step back and be grateful for all I have.  The first took place the Sunday before Thanksgiving at two friends’ gorgeous apartment in Arlington.  All of our closest girl friends were there, each bringing a special dish to contribute.  The lovely hostesses prepared the main course while the rest of us did our best to impress with side dishes and desserts.  The results did not disappoint.  Truthfully one of the best Thanksgiving meals I have EVER had.. leave it to these ladies to seriously raise the T-day bar.  Most of the dishes are pictured below.. hyperlink titles are where you can find the recipe.  Enjoy!

Pork Stuffing

Follow basic preparation on back of stuffing bread packaging.  Add healthy dose of cooked ground pork, poultry seasoning, and fresh parsley.Image

Turkey Gravy

Make a roux using a couple teaspoons each of melted butter and flour. Add turkey broth and drippings, bring to boil to thicken.


Fresh Herb and Gruyere Cheese Puffs


Baked Mac n Cheese (friend’s SECRET recipe!)


White Sangria


Apple Brie Rolls


Our Hostesses’ Gorgeous Turkey!


Green Bean and Bacon SaladImage

My plate..round one. Not sorry.Image

BUT WAIT, there’s more…


I am also fortunate enough to have a loving family to go home to for the holidays.  This year, I think we outdid ourselves (a 17lb turkey for three people!), but that translated to succulent leftovers for days! Stuffing for breakfast is kind of amazing just FYI.  See our feast below!

My trusty bottle of Fourteen Hands Red Blend

This should not surprise you at this point.


Baked Brussel Sprouts with Prosciutto

Bake the brussel sprouts in the oven until they are mostly done.. then add bits of prosciutto towards the end so the thin meat doesn’t burn.Image

The 17 pounderImage

Mashed Cauliflower

One of my favorite recent discoveries, and a great low-carb option for Thanksgiving.  Buy as many heads of cauliflower as you think you’ll need (I bought two for the three of us, and had leftovers).  Cut up cauliflower trees and boil in water for roughly 10 minutes until soft.  Put it food processor and add: tablespoon of olive oil, tablespoon of reduced fat chive cream cheese, a 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, small slice of butter, two teaspoons minced garlic, and teaspoon of oregano.  Pulse in food processor until blended.  Add grated parmesan on top before serving.Image

Table SettingImage

Obligatory Canned Cranberry Sauce

Put it on a pretty plate to sidestep the whole store-bought thing.Image

Glass of celebratory champagne!Image

My plate..again. I miss it a lot.Image

Pecan Pie! What’s your favorite kind?Image

So there you have it! I know, very picture-heavy post but I couldn’t resist.  I have neglected to use my sweet Nikon camera recently and these dishes were deserving of a more professional touch (sorry iPhone).

Here’s to being thankful.  Have a great rest of your weeks!

Winter Date Night: A Female’s Inner Monologue

15 Nov

Date Night

I don’t know how many of you reading this are female.  If you are female, I don’t know how many of you have been faced with a dinner date night conundrum.  Having lived in the district for over two years, one could say that I’ve participated in the modern dance known as luring a potential significant other contender.  Historically, men are assumed to be the courtiers.   I however fully believe in equal participation in the romance ritual from its onset, but I digress.  Basically, sometimes you wanna impress someone. Sometimes, an opportunity presents itself out of the blue and you gotta put your game face on.  This is one example: cooking him a meal.  I happen to relish in this circumstance as I hope this blog has conveyed.  However, I cannot say the same for several girlfriends, who would view the below as a complete nightmare.  In an attempt to both highlight and appease their anxiety, I give you Winter Date Night: A Female’s Inner Monologue.

Setting: Drab cubicle on the 5th floor of stereotypical downtown DC office building

Time: Friday, 1pm

Background: Appropriately witty text banter has evolved into impromptu date night plans at female’s residence.

“CRAP. He’s coming over for dinner tonight? OMG HE’S COMING OVER FOR DINNER TONIGHT?! Ugh why don’t I live with Martha Stewart or Giada whatsherface and make my life easier.  The only thing I know how to cook is frozen Macaroni and Cheese bites, which are sub-par to say the least.  Okay. I can do this. I will finish crushing this spreadsheet at 5:30, he’s coming over at 7. The metro sucks (who can forget that off-boarding nightmare yesterday at McPherson Square), so that leaves me approximately 45 minutes AT BEST from when I get home to look attractive and make an epic dinner that’s delicious yet simple and a little ambivalent. I mean, it’s only been a month, kid’s not getting Filet mignon, but he should obviously know I’m impressive in yet another facet of life. Thank god I went grocery shopping this week. There’s gotta be something I can pull together.  It’s dismal and frigid out so it should be warm and comforting…  Wait what am I going to wear??!!! Everything is in my stupid laundry basket because I ALWAYS procrastinate like this. Monday resolution: do your laundry dammit. Alright whatever I have that cute sweater dress.  Focus.”

5:30 arrives. Hustles home. Stares in cupboard/fridge for inspiration.

EPIPHANY: 5 simple ingredients. 20 minutes. Healthy yet provides man-substance.
-one box Archer Farm mushroom risotto
-one package asparagus
-one red pepper
-one box Archer Farms frozen turkey meatballs (which I genuinely snack on regularly)
-Parmesan cheese


Immediately preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse and slice the red pepper.  Place red pepper and asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, set aside.  While oven heats for 15 minutes, run upstairs and touch up your already effortless make-up and put on that slammin’ outfit.  Run back downstairs when oven dings and throw in the veggies.  Pause to pour a glass of wine and press play on that tasteful dinner playlist. While veggies bake, make the flavored risotto.  Following instructions, risotto usually takes around 20 minutes, but is very low maintenance.  Just stir occasionally. After 15 of those minutes, place 10 small turkey meatballs on a microwave-safe plate and heat according to the back of the box (usually microwave takes 5-6 minutes).  Take out the veggies. Timing everything strategically means that the risotto, baked vegetables, and meatballs will all be ready within your crucial 20 minute window.  For compilation right before his arrival, separate the risotto into two bowls.  Layer the veggies along the inner rims of the bowls as pictured.  This is strictly for presentation but I like attention to detail.  Place 5 turkey meatballs in the center of each.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Voila!  A casual, delicious and surprisingly filling meal.


Doorbell rings. Scratched Ikea table is already set with bowls and two glasses of Fourteen Hands Hot to Trot red blend ($9 and my favorite). Answer door, sit, coyly sip, because YOU, my friend, are indeed too hot to trot. Enjoy.

Nommin’ Out: The Dickson

6 Aug

Photo (11)


A discreet multi-level building with almost no signage, the Dickson Wine Bar is a gem to add to your happy hour musings.  Located on 9th and U St, it’s small with a super cool interior.  The walls are lined with hundreds of dark green, blue, and brown recycled wine bottles, and the cozy bar level has cute high top tables that fit parties of four.  I sat in the bar along the window on one of several high top seats, allowing for sidewalk views and a direct line of vision to Nellie’s Sports Bar (sidewalk stalking may or may not be a blog motif).  Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 5-7pm, and boasts $5 house wines (red, white, & sparkling) and select brews.  Pictured above is an appetizer from their dinner menu: $6 carrot dip with capers and feta, served with warm bread.  This was the perfect accompaniment to my house white wine, and the ideal size for a twosome.  And speaking of twosomes, the Dickson is a GREAT date place.  You can pick a level depending on your desired surroundings (i.e. bar level you will be sitting 10 inches from the next couple, whereas the top level is a bit more spread out) and its dark with great aesthetics.  Snag a companion and get there!


So close to wine


Discovering new Foodventures with each bite

Madison Sheffer

a creative communicator

%d bloggers like this: