Food and Drink, The DC 100, The Features

DC Omnivore 100: #98, Polenta


"Polenta" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

It’s time for another item from the DC Omnivore 100 list of the top one hundred foods every good omnivore should try at least once in their lives.

There’s something so comforting about polenta. Maybe it’s the mushiness. Last night, fighting off a fever, I had an intense craving for this cornmeal goo, so I dragged myself off to the store to rustle up a plate.

Polenta is one of the staple dishes of Northern Italy, though it also can be found throughout Eastern Europe and Turkey. Honestly, there’s not much to it – boiled cornmeal using either the yellow or white varieties, fine or coarse grained. But it’s a bit labor-intensive. Like risotto, it requires constant stirring as the cornmeal grain’s starch slowly gelatinizes. But once it does – oh happy day. You get a soft, creamy mixture, and that’s before adding any other delicious ingredients like butter or cheese! It’s also extremely economical, filling peasant food that can be prepared in so many ways, from breakfast to dinner.

If you see polenta on Italian restaurant menus around DC, chances are it’ll be paired with sausage – this is a pretty traditional mix of mild and spicy. Tosca takes it to another level, matching it with sea urchin ragu and caviar (for lunch!). But polenta doesn’t have to be served straight from the pot – you can also cool it and fry it up. Fried polenta has a more complex flavor than when just boiled – the taste of corn is more pronounced. I was inspired by the grilled polenta I recently tried at Vegetate to make an attempt at this style myself. Continue reading

Food and Drink, We Love Food

We Love Food: Vegetate

Photo courtesy of
‘Vegetate Outside’
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

I have a co-worker and friend named Heather. Heather is a vegetarian. She’s one of those odd vegetarians, though, that doesn’t really eat a bunch of vegetables. She likes them just fine, and she’ll eat them if you cook them for her, or bring them to her, but she doesn’t seek out vegetables the way a stereotypical vegetarian would. In fact, she tends to eat a lot of mac and cheese, and mozzarella sticks are her favorite bar nosh. Fried food is good food for Heather, especially when it involves cheese. So when I told her about Vegetate, the vegetarian restaurant in Historic Shaw, and my experience there, she said “now that’s the restaurant for me!” – and it totally is. Here is why. Continue reading

Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, We Love Food

Eat Like Me: June’s Best Dishes

Photo courtesy of
‘this is generally what my life looks like at 6:30 p.m. any given day’
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

People ask me all the time if they can have my job. NO! Mine. Well, you can have my day job, but you’d have to fight me to the death for my foodie blogging job. And it would be your death, not mine. Along the way, through press dinners, media previews, nights out with friends, and places I’m reviewing for our We Love Food feature, I run into some damn good dishes (for up-to-the minute reviews, follow me on Twitter). Forkful after forkful, I wind up eating some dishes that make me think back with ultimate fondness, and leave me longing for them. Last month I told you all about with them in a little piece I called Eat Like Me. It was so popular with you guys, and I enjoyed writing it so much, that I decided I’ll do it every month. Sort of like a what’s worth it of my food intake – a satoralist of food, if you will.

So. June. It was rainy, right? Ugh. But it was also chock full of food for me, my calendar was overwhelming. June is a busy month in the foodie world. New warm weather menus come hot off the presses, restaurants open their doors to hungry summer crowds, and my friends want to eat out more. It’s pretty glorious. So, click on through to see what made the cut.  Continue reading