I’m a city girl at heart, but sometimes, I actually like being in the suburbs. It’s the lifestyle I grew up in when I lived in Orlando, and though I have my reasons for leaving Florida, I often miss that more relaxed, family-friendly vibe. So it worked out well that I, along with The Boyfriend and a handful of my crew (yes, “Team DMV”) made plans to drive out to Reston Town Center, 35 minutes away from DC.
We attended the Cadillac Culinary Challenge that I had mentioned on Friday, and it turns out they needed 1 more judge, so I agreed to do so. The other two judges were the duo behind That’s What She Fed, Chuck and Megan, and it was great meeting them, especially as fellow food bloggers.
I have to say, not that it was on TV or that this was any sort of major event, but being a judge was pretty cool – I’ve never had to be a judge for anything before! And to be judging chefs like Chris Clime and Geoffrey Zakarian (who is a judge himself on cooking shows, talk about pressure), that was definitely cool.
Clime made jumbo lump crab cakes with sweet corn chow-chow and Zakarian made cold crab gazpacho, and while both were excellent. The crab cakes were wonderfully meaty and spicy mayo was a nice condiment to accompany the sweet crab. But I had voted for the gazpacho, mostly because it was a little unusual and inventive – sweet, cold, made with almonds and no cream at all, and topped with a grape half.
After the event, we stuck around the town center and pretty much restaurant-hopped for drinks and food. How often are we all out in the suburbs just hanging out? Never. (We usually meet in DC or if we’re outside DC it’s at someone’s apartment. Or Annandale for Korean food). So we figured we’d take advantage of what the area has to offer, jumping from Uncle Julio’s for drinks and chips and salsa and guac to American Tap Roomfor more drinks (although I just had water), then PassionFish for food. A few of us split The Big Daddy: a tower of seafood, including lobster, crab, clams, shrimp, and oysters. Boyfriend snapped this photo of his ceviche (love that there’s popcorn on top!):
The guys split off to continue drinking at Clyde’s, but the girls did a little shopping and dessert-hunting. I picked up an angel food cake-cheesecake concoction at Edibles Incredible and attacked half of it while watching Harry Potter in 3D later that night. So unfortunately, there’s no photo, but trust me when I say Edibles Incredible has awesome desserts.
Seriously, I didn’t expect the ‘burbs to be that fun. We all plan to make a trip to Reston a yearly event, aptly dubbed “RestoFest.” Sometimes it’s nice to just to get away from the city scene in DC and go somewhere to shop, drink, dine and watch a movie, all within a less-than-1-mile radius. And with free garage parking – you definitely don’t experience that in DC!