Stuffed.

31 Jan

Have you ever gotten to the point where you’ve eaten out so much that you feel like a blob from the inside out?

That’s me right now. I’ve either ordered take-out or have been going out to restaurants multiple times in the past week due to a) being too tired (aka lazy) to cook, b) having to use up Groupons or Village Vines or Living Social coupons before they expire or c) having visitors and/or d) lack of time to cook.

There were some gems in the slew of my personal restaurant tour of DC. I didn’t bring my camera along to everything since it’s a pain to carry and I just don’t always feel like taking photos of every single thing I eat. So for one, Zentan, in the Donovan House hotel, has great sushi and a delicious Hong Kong-style Steamed Fish with a light black bean sauce that was perfect for sharing with The Bf.

Dad was here this weekend, and we attempted to get dinner at Matchbox on Saturday night, but (surprise, surprise) it was packed and the wait for 3 was an hour and a half. Kind of ridiculous. So we opted for delivery pizza from the new Z Pizza that had recently opened (close to Matchbox, actually). We were pleased. It’s affordable, tasted fresh, and offered flavors that you don’t normally find in a pizza delivery menu. Case in point, we shared a Tuscan, with 3 different mushrooms, caramelized onions, feta, mozzarella, truffle oil and roasted garlic sauce on a thin, wheat crust. It was more like a flatbread than a regular pizza, but I liked its fresh taste. We also tried a create-your-own calzone, which was actually larger than I thought it was going to be (its definitely share-able between 2). It had a crisp crust on the outside, and was satisfyingly stuffed on the inside. I put ricotta, Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, eggplant, and onion in ours and the combination was delicious.

I continued the Italian food theme at Dino in Cleveland Park, which has great new brunch special. I was invited by fellow food blogger Sylvie (Thrifty DC Cook ) to a special food bloggers’ brunch that the restaurant was hosting. For $25 diners get 3 courses with multiple dishes to choose from (you can get a starter or half-pasta, then a main or full pasta, then dessert or a drink). The food overall was hearty and homey, and successfully captured that rustic feel that Dino seems to shoot for.

For my first course, I tried their Cavolini, or brussels sprouts with pork belly and caramelized onions in an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. I love caramelized onions and am definitely going through some sort of brussels sprouts phase, so I pretty much picked this to satisfy my constant craving. It the job well. The onions were sweet and gave a lot of flavor to the subtlety of the brussels sprouts. I could’ve actually done without the pork belly, which was quite thick and chewy, but I’m sure the fat in it contributed much to the dish. I followed with their Budino di Pane, or breakfast bread pudding. It’s made with challah bread and includes a house sausage, chanterelles, carrots, rapini, kale and a combination of cheeses. I was very pleased with this dish, it was flavorful and very savory, though thick and filling enough to be eaten on its own.

Somehow I pushed aside enough room in my stomach for dessert and opted for the gelato tricolore, with Valrhona chocolate, raspberry and (I think) cinnamon gelatos (there were a couple gelato options so I kept confusing one with another). It turned out to be a nice, relatively light ending to a huge, filling meal, and each flavor was very prominent on its own. I liked the neapolitan presentation as well.  Overall, everything made for a very filling and satisfying meal and I literally wasn’t hungry for the rest of the day until about 8:00pm. Not sure if that’s a good thing for my health but it certainly set me up for an awesome nap.

After brunch, I swung by DC’s new Grey Market, an “underground” market that has been set up for vendors who are (yet) unable to get licensing. Kushi hosted the shindig, which took up one end of the restaurant while normal service ran on the other end. It was a bit cramped but it looks like the market itself was a success, especially with the amount of people and the line that had formed for people to sign up for membership. I actually ended up splurging on some goodies: two tiny cupcakes from DE(vi)LISH! Confections by Wendy (both were adorable and tasted great), Sweet Potato Butter from Cunningham Farms (I’m looking forward to trying one of their recipes), and chocolate pop from one of my fave local producers, Seasonal Pantry. The Bf also purchased a vanilla bread pudding from Gourmet Cherry. Judging from all the samples I tried at the market, my money was worth it – and everything was fairly inexpensive. I’m already looking forward to trying more local foods at the next market.

For now though, I’m finishing off leftovers and sticking to homemade meals. This nosher needs a detox!

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One Response to “Stuffed.”

  1. Lisa February 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    I looked up ZPizza due to your comments and found out that they deliver to my office for a non-obscene delivery charge! Huzzah! I’ve now used them twice in a row for late-night dinners at the office. Thank you! They have provided me with a much needed break from bad Chinese or bad Italian food (apparently the only people who will deliver). More recommendations welcome (just don’t stuff yourself to do it)!

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