Tag Archives: restaurant

Heroes and Cheesetique

Hey! How are you guys doing today?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to volunteer on behalf of my company at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes event at Nationals Park!

Hiring Our Heroes is a job fair specifically targeted at Veterans and military spouses. It’s an awesome opportunity (in my opinion) for members of the military community to get to speak one on one with employers who are enthusiastic about supporting Service members and their families and being understanding about the military lifestyle (it can be tough for military spouses, for instance, to maintain a career when they’re moving around every few years).

I don’t talk about it too much here on the blog, but in my professional life (aka when I’m not talking about my obsession with hummus or spilling my feelings to the world wide web) I work with the military community, and also have a lot of friends who are Active duty or former Service members. As a result. supporting military families and Veterans in my off time is very important to me.

I had a great time at the fair, talking to job seekers and just soaking in the excitement of everyone there. It was so weird to be at the baseball stadium without any baseball being played though!

 

Apparently Teddy didn’t seem to think so…

Ummm, yeah. He was having a ball… and slightly creeping out everyone by rubbing up against them while they were discussing their resumes and things. He’s pretty friendly.

After work, I met up with my friend Lisa for dinner at the cutest little cheese and wine shop – Cheesetique!

We love this place. It’s over in the Arlington neighborhood of Shirlington, which is too adorable for words and now decked out for Christmas! I already told you guys how much I love me some twinkle lights. Anyways, at dinner we split one of their specialty macaroni and cheese dishes.

Cauliflower and pancetta mac!

Amazing. Plus wine, of course. Apparently it was “wine down Wednesday” at Cheesetique? I’m totally okay with that. I’d appreciate it if every day could be “wine down” day. Thanks.

Side note – I’m experiencing a slight cheese obsession lately. Anyone else? Not sure what my problem is, because little miss lactose intolerant over here isn’t supposed to be frequenting the dairy aisle this much. It’s just sooooo good! I FORGOT how good it is I suppose… I guess that’s like a lot of things in life, right? You can push things (or people) out of your mind, but one reminder of how incredible they are and BAM. Change of story.

Ugh. More mac and cheese please! And bigger pants.

And now I’m going to slowly back away from the cheese………… ;-) Time to get to work. Have a great day!

 

 

Any great mac and cheese recipes out? Share in the comments please!

Thursday Things

1. First things first: MY KNEE STILL HURTS. I don’t even want to talk about it.

2. It’s the end of October, I don’t have a halloween costume put togther, have not had ANY pumpkin beer, and it’s like 80 degrees here in D.C. What is going on?! Does this mean the world’s ending?

3. For some reason, ordering take-out always makes me feel like more of an adult. I know that makes zero sense.

(Thanks, Zoes Kitchen.)

4. Wednesday night, I had this crazy locally brewed pomegranate beer at Rustico. Um, awesome.

And it was for Breast Cancer Awareness!

5. The other day, I had my first slice of pumpkin pie of the season! And then proceeded to have some as dinner later in the week. It’s like college, all over again.

6. Are you guys watching Nashville? <–New favorite show on television, mainly because it stars Connie Britton, of my beloved Friday Night Lights.

7. Remember how last year I did the Alzheimers Walk? Welp, I’m doing it again this year, on Saturday! 

My grandmother had Alzheimer’s (on my dad’s side), so it’s a cause that is close to my (and my family’s) heart.

8. Have I told you guys about this place I had brunch at last weekend, Locolat Cafe (<–website is kinda weird, you are warned)?! Omg. Waffles, everywhere.

Yes, those eggs don’t look completely cooked. I ignored that and lived to tell the story.

9. My daddy is coming in to hang out with me this weekend, aka to do the Walk and then cheer me on at my first race. He’s the best.

10. I promised you all an update on that pumpkin Greek yogurt I bought from Trader Joe’s a couple weeks agoEh. Not that great, sorry guys.

 

What are YOUR things today?

Monday things

1. Yesterday I visited Annapolis for the first time. Ice cream, sailboats, fudge, and Naval Academy grads.  EVERYWHERE. Recap tomorrow, but check out these quoteworthy napkins I found in a random shop there in the meantime:

Amen.

2. Friday, Beth and I met for dinner at Bayou Bakery, this adorable, New Orleans themed bakery/cafe in Arlington. I LOVE this place.

Salad with grilled chicken, radishes, sundried tomatoes, hard boiled egg, and Benton’s bacon.

I’m still having daydreams about this cafe au lait with soy milk I had there.

You NEED to go there and get one if you’re ever in Arlington. Just saying.

3. I’m running again! (BOOYA, IT band.)

…And I’m really out of running-shape. Super. I kinda forgot how tough running can be.

4. Last week was my little Cupcake’s 5th birthday.

She ate marshmallow cake for breakfast. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so proud.

5. So, I have this habit where I get REALLY into TV shows after they’re already off the air. Right now, my obsession is Veronica Mars (thanks, Netflix).

Ever watch it? It helps that it starts Kristen Bell, who I think is awesome due to this video (<–watch it!).

6. I’ve been eating Paleo for barely a week, and I’ve already emptied my almond butter jar. 

My name is Joelle, and I have a problem.

(Don’t worry, I bought a new jar on Saturday.)

7. Speaking of Paleo…. DUDE. I feel awesome!  

With the exception of a beer+popcorn late Saturday night, I’ve been sticking with Paleo and I’m sincerely feeling so much better. My diet is a lot cleaner, FINALLY. It only took me like 2.5 months, no big deal.

P.S. I feel like I eat some combo of beef and eggs almost every.single.day lately.

8. I added a new page on the blog called “Typewriter Notes” with a collection of some of my favorite deep thought/advicey posts… Ya know, in case you’re into that or something. Check it out!

9. New book:

(Source)

So far, so good!

10. While I’m typing this post, 30 Rock is on in the background and they just recited one of my VERY favorite TV show lines:

Liz Lemon: “Why are you wearing a tux?”

Jack Donaghy: “It’s after 6pm – what am I, a farmer?”

You’re welcome.

 

What are YOUR things this week? 

Review: The Curious Grape

Wine.

That one word summarizes my entire weekend. Goodness, folks.

I’m now on a wine sabbatical.

Anyways! This past Friday I was lucky enough (with Meg, my partner in crime since high school) to get the opportunity to have dinner at a wine shop and restaurant called The Curious Grape. For those of you who live in the Arlington,VA/Washington, D.C. metro area, this place is located in Shirlington, i.e. this adorable new neighborhood that I want to pack my bags and move to immediately.

Their mantra, according to the owner, is “Bringing wine down to earth.” Everything is pretty reasonably priced because you can do half orders of most dishes, so I can see how that holds true. And I have to say – the staff (including the owners) were SO nice and very friendly during our visit.

This place does not kid around about their wine love. First up I ordered a Viognier from Michael Shaps winery (local!), and Meg selected a Torrontes from Argentina. Both were very smooth and ended up being the perfect choices.

Then we got to eating, aka Meg and my main hobby.

Cheese plate, tailored for white wine drinking. (The first two on the plate are goat cheeses, aka my favorite)

SO good! Because of my lactose intolerance I have generally steered clear from cheese other than on pizza (let’s be serious) for the last few years, so I can’t even tell you the last time I just ate a meal of straight cheese and bread. This was fantastic though.

Appetizer one rocked my socks.

Braised pork empanadas with cilantro, pumpkin seed salsa & crème fraiche on the side. Holy moly.

Appetizer two, Meg’s choice, was fried green tomatoes with tuna. 

Personally, I think the empanadas were the winners in this race, although both dishes could have use a teensy bit more flavor in my opinion. The empanadas, although really tasty, only packed a flavor punch when dipped in the accompanying salsa/creme fraiche (which was very good!).

By now obviously it was time for another round of wine. For me, a glass of pinot gris from Oregon and for Meg gruner veltliner from Austria.

For our entrees we both ordered the half orders per the recommendation of the waitress, who I’m pretty sure thought we both had not eaten since 1992, My eyes flew to the chicken dish automatically… and I know, I know -chicken?! Boring. But this chicken was way more interesting than anything I usually create in my own kitchen.

Ahem: spice-roasted chicken with green onion polenta, braised kale & tomato.

Yes – KALE. I’m so healthy.

This was delicious. And a pretty big portion despite being a half size.

Meg ordered the scallops and cleaned her plate.. I’m not a seafood fan, so I didn’t taste anything more than the black rice (<–never had that before!) on her meal.

Desserts: 

…and a mango/blackberry tart with a chocolate crust.

Why stop at one dessert when you can have two, right? Simple logic.

They were both pretty good, although to be honest I was already very full by the time dessert rolled around, AND I’m actually not a big sweet dessert person (despite loving to bake). Meg was a big fan though. :-)

The Curious Grape is also a wine shop (duh), so there were lots of bottles to choose from in the wine shop section of the store.

Ugh, so fun. I can’t thank The Curious Grape enough for hosting me!

And did I mention I followed up Friday with a wine fest and then wine dinner on Saturday?

Yeah.

I can’t look at a bottle of wine for another month, but man that was goooooooood.

 

How was your weekend??

 

 

*Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this dinner at The Curious Grape by a restaurant/food PR company, but the opinions and photos were 100% my own. The check was compensated, but it was NOT based the promise of a positive or negative review.

 

 

 

Charleston

For much of the last week, I was in the good ol’ south for work.

And now I’m in love.

One of the major highlights of the trip that just about tipped me over the edge?

The Hominy Grill, aka home of the best breakfast possibly anywhere outside of my mom’s kitchen.

(That’s homemade cornbread! Don’t worry, I bought their cookbook.)

(And did I mention there was homemade jam? Swoon.)

Charleston, SC – I’ll be back, okay?