Posts Tagged ‘Food and Drink’

Feasting Pretty: Taberna de Alabardero (Washington, DC) Fall Menu


Travel opens your eyes to many things. It could be getting out of your comfort zone, getting to know yourself better, and understanding another culture. For me, the best way I learn about another culture is through their food. Food tells a story. It also tells history through a dish. Spain is a country that is close to my heart. It’s the first place I traveled with my husband and where if I admit now, I fell hard for him. As we discovered Spain, its history, and culture, it was the food where the lessons of traveling hit home.

As I attended the fall tasting menu at Taberna de Alabardero it took me back to Spain and falling in love and feasting. Taberna de Alabardero is a 26-year old Spanish fine dining restaurant in DC. Walking into the restaurant, I was taken back to Madrid, Barcelona, Jerez, and Seville. All that was missing was the sound of flamenco. Chef Romero is from Madrid, but his dishes are influenced from all over Spain. I remember tasting the Monkfish and thinking this has a hint of sherry. In Jerez, we went sherry tasting and I can still taste the luscious liquor. I grew up with a very adventurous food father. I was the only kid that would eat the “weird” stuff. As an adult, I think the curiosity has helped expand my palette. I’m willing to be adventurous and explore. In life and on the plate.

The fall menu at Taberna de Alabardero was as exceptional and delicious as any dish I had in Spain. I plan to go back with my husband so he can reminisce about Spain a little closer to home. All I ask is when are you making your reservation?


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{Cod Carpaccio with Wild Salmon with pistachios, capers, olives, and tomatoes.}

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{Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with Almond Garlic Pistachio Sauce}

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{Scallop with Bacon in a Cuttlefish Reduction}

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{Hen Noodle Soup with Poached Quail Egg}

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{Monkfish with Crab Cream}


{Yellowfin Tuna Tataki with Potatoes and Bell Peppers}

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{Lobster paella}

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{Veal Sweetbread with Chanterelles}

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{Coulant of Red Berries}

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Oak by Absolut Vodka


As a wine girl, most people don’t think I drink anything else. I enjoy a good cocktail with fresh ingredients and even better liquor. Absolut Vodka is a major vodka brand and is currently on my bar cart. So when they asked me to try their barrel crafted oaked vodka I was skeptical. Vodka. Being oaked?


If you are going to oak vodka, my expectations are going to be high. I expect it to be smooth, can stand alone on its merits, and doesn’t need a mix to make it taste good. Needless to say, I don’t want my vodka any other way now. Absolut Oak is so smooth. At first I tried it with cold apple cider in a cocktail, but the best way in my opinion is straight up on the rocks.

Here’s a great recipe for a fall gathering. Talk about a grown-up hot toddy.

  • Half a bottle of Absolut Oak;
  • One gallon of apple cider (fresh is the best);
  • Thinly sliced Honey Crisp or Fuji apple;
  • Mix all the ingredients in a large stock pot and simmer on low for 20 minutes;
  • Serve in a mug with an apple slice on top; and
  • Your guests will thank you.

Feasting Pretty: Ted’s Montana Grill

Ted's Montana Grill

I recently had the pleasure of dining at the new Ted’s Montana Grill in Maryland. The restaurant chain owned by Ted Turner opened the first location of the popular chain in Maryland. Ted’s Montana Grill is based on bison cuisine which is leaner and has more protein than beef. I had only had a bison burger before experiencing the deliciousness of a bison steak.

Now, I am hooked. The meat had so much flavor and I love that it only came with a pat of butter on the top. This is all you need on a good piece of meat. No sauce, just butter. My meal started with the smoked trout appetizer with homemade bread and tortilla chips. I had to stop myself from eating the entire dish because I needed room for my steak. This is worth going to Ted’s just to try.

If you don’t eat bison, don’t worry. Ted’s also sells meat and fish entrees. The restaurant has other great food options to try. I have to bring my husband back because the cedar-plank salmon looked worth trying as well. The restaurant cooks everything fresh and also freshly presses their lemons for the house lemonade.

Would I go back to Ted’s Montana Grill? Absolutely. I plan on taking my mother there when she visits next month because it’s just that delicious.


{Smoked trout appetizer}


{Bison steak served perfectly}


{Outdoor fire pit to enjoy}


Ted’s Montana Grill
105 Ellington Boulevard
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Feasting Pretty: Heritage BBQ by Cochon 555


I was elated to receive the email asking if I wanted to cover the Heritage BBQ event presented by Cochon 555. I almost cried. This was one of the food events I always wanted to attend but was never in town to do so. Cochon means “pig” in French, so the event had pork prepared various ways by local chefs. It is taken very seriously because it’s bragging rights for the chefs. Cochon 555 only uses heritage pigs. The best pigs in the world without all the crap that most farm animals have now.

One of my favorite restaurants in DC is Graffiato and I was happy to hear Chef Jose Adorno won. For more event photos check here. Cochon 555 tour all over the U.S. and I suggest snagging a ticket if you are into food. You will not be disappointed.

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{A classic Manhattan in a mason jar. Love.}


{These pig skins were worth every calorie.}

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{Chef Marc Pauvert butchering one of the pigs}

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Giveaway: Touch Coffee Machine for National Coffee Day



I love a good cup of coffee and look forward to it every day. In honor of National Coffee Day the lovely people at TOUCH Beverages has agreed to giveaway one of their machines to one lucky winner. The new Touch T414S coffee machine.

Here are few facts about the machine.

  • The brewer is ready to start brewing in under 20 seconds after being off all night.
  • The hot water has more contact with the coffee grounds, which ensures that all of the coffee flavor is extracted. Other machines take much longer to warm up and then shoot water through the coffee grounds too quickly, so you end up throwing away untapped flavor with the used capsule. Even with a slower, more deliberate brew, when factoring in the warm-up time, the Touch still turns out a “cup of joe” in a fraction of the time.
  • You can now brew larger cups of coffee without sacrificing flavor. Customize your coffee experience by choosing from five cup sizes (6, 8, 10, 12 or 14 ounces) and three brew strengths (mild, medium or bold).
  • Its removable 90-ounce water tank has a greater capacity and is shorter in height than its counterparts, meaning you will be refilling less often, and it will be less awkward when you do.
  • Touch’s single serve cups are larger than traditional K-Cups, allowing more coffee grounds. More coffee means bigger, bolder flavor.

Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feasting Pretty: Tessemae’s All Natural Salad Dressings


We eat a lot of salad in my house. Seriously, between the two of us I know we go through tons of greens and vegetables each week. My mom eats a salad every day and sometimes twice a day. I think I get it honestly. A few years ago le husband and I decided that we were not going to eat mass produced salad dressings. I decided and as the cook in the family he had no choice but to go along with the plan. I normally make my own salad dressings with good extra virgin oil (in the words of Ina Garten), a delcious balsamic vinegar, and dijon mustard.

But then Tessamae entered my salad dressing world and we were hooked. Tessamae is a small family owned and operated company out of Annapolis, Maryland which is a hop, skip, and a jump to me. The dressings are all natural and expire within 60 days of opening. They don’t have high fructose corn syrup, exorbitant amounts of sugar, and a lot of the icky stuff most big name salad dressings have. All of Tessamae’s dressings can be used for salads, as a marinade or as a dip. Tessame, please come up with a miso dressing so I don’t have to make mine.

Now we are going back and forth testing and tasting all the dressings. After discovering how much sugar is in ketchup, I switched. Tessame’s has a kick and is so good. Once I tasted their ketchup I threw away every other brand in my refrigerator in the trash. Yes, I have a condiment problem.

They have a BBQ sauce, but since I’m from Texas (the home of the best BBQ in my opinion), I have to remain loyal to my dad’s recipe. Sorry, Tessamae. Some things just can’t change. Tessamae is worth investing in – for yourself and your tastebuds.

Capture Artisan Wine Tour


Capture Artisan Wine Tour 2015


It might be snowing this morning in D.C. on the Spring Equinox, but I know warm weather, festivals, outdoor events and fun outside is around the corner. It also means the first Capture Wine Tour is almost here in D.C. Capture Wine Tour is a twelve-city celebration of wine. Capture Wine Tour includes music, food and spirits and is going to be a party.

Instead of a regular wine festival where you see, swirl, sip and savor and taste wine this tour allows you to meet the wine makers and wine country entrepreneurs.  The tour has more than forty wineries and food based on the farm-to-table movement from local restaurants in each city.

Tickets are on sale now and I hope to see you there.



Travel Diary: Devon Valley Hotel in Cape Winelands, South Africa

I traveled to Cape Winelands in 2010 before heading to the World Cup in other parts of South Africa. It was one of those bucket list trips, but I never posted the photos or wrote what made it so memorable. Growing up in Houston I always knew that my life would be very different than other members of my family. I know some of them could really care less about travel. They love hearing about my adventures, but that is for Ju-Ju. All they need is my itinerary and to know I made it safely back home.

I always knew I wanted a life full of passport stamps, adventur, and joie de vivre. It wasn’t until my late 20s when I decided this thinking was okay and that they didn’t have to “get me.” If you never thought of going to South Africa I beg you to reconsider. It’s worth every single cent you have to save to get there. I suggest visiting the Cape Winelands if you are a fan of the grape. There are numerous wineries for afternoons of sipping, pondering, and discovering something different.

The Devon Valley Hotel was our base and the perfect place to recover from a very long day of travel. If you know me you know two things: (1) I hate to fly (ironic, I know) and (2) I don’t sleep on planes. So you can imagine how exhausted I was landing in Africa. After navigating driving on the opposite side of the highway, shifting gears on the opposite side of the car, and deciding it was better that The Don drive we arrived to mountains, fresh air, and luxury. The hotel has its very own winery next door. SylvanVale Vineyards is part of the hotel. It was great sampling their many wines on our trip. I just wish I could find them here in the states. Delicious.

Happy Travel Tuesday!

Devon Valley

Devon Vally Hotel

Devon Valley Bath

SylvanVale Vineyards

SylvanVale Wine Menu

Wine tasting at SylvanVale

SylvanVale Vineyards Fave

We visited was Peter Falke Wines. The view and the atmosphere was simple stunning and the wine was equally as divine.

{Peter Falke Wines}

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Peter Falke Wines 5

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 {Wine + contemplation = a great life!}

Peter Falke Wines 3

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