We rolled into Surfside hungry, dirty, and tired. Marcus and I had just completed the Billy Goat trail, a 4 mile hike near Great Falls. Surfside, a restaurant Washingtonian named one of DC's 100 best, was exactly what we needed at the time: casual, cheap, and borderline healthy (as in, not fried).
I'm in the middle of a wicked love affair with kale. It's an obsession that is destined to fizzle. For now, though, it continues at full throttle. I buy a batch of kale every week at the farmer's market, and I'm constantly thinking of different ways to prepare it. Recently, I made kale and farro and kale with chorizo. This week, lacking the energy to stand over my stove and actually cook a meal, I decided to try the much talked-about kale chips. "They are just like potato chips," said my friend at work. "A delicious alternative to potato chips!" wrote another kale advocate.
Just like potato chips? Um, potato chips are my favorite food. Hand me a bag of UTZ BBQ and I'm forever your girl. The problem is that potato chips are fattening, and should be eaten in moderation (when one can help it). Kale chips, on the other hand, sound like an infomercial for health and wellness. In my mind, you can sit on your couch and eat kale chips until the next season of Mad Men airs.
The problem with infomercials is that they never deliver on their promises.
It started as an easy, slow day. I had buckwheat pancakes and, appropriately, an egg over-easy for breakfast. Marcus and I were in the Shenandoah for the weekend. We had driven to Luray, VA, a short two hour drive from DC after work on a Friday, and checked into the Skyland Resort. That's "resort" with quotations, but not in a bad way.
Most days I eat lunch at my desk. Leftovers or a sandwich when I'm organized, a quick salad or tacos when finding some thing to wear and making lunch in the morning seems like passing health care reform. Recently I was invited by Bourbon Steak to try out the new lunch bar menu. (Yes, I'm wicked lucky). Given the fact that I don't often have business lunches at luxurious spots around town, I wasn't sure what to expect. And, I'll be honest, I was thinking, it's a recession: oh my. Instead, what I found was true foodie bargain.
Find a bar stool and order the lunch special. For $21 bucks you get a non-alcoholic drink (try the very retro and very delicious concord grape soda), a burger of your choice (beef, turkey, falafel, salmon, or boneless baby back pork ribs), a side (duck fat fries, onion rings, or mixed greens), and, if you are interested, lively conversation about seasonal drinks with Duane the mixologist on the bar.
The internet offers an all you can eat buffet. There's recipes, food porn, and high-quality food writing. As is the key to any buffet, the trick is knowing what to pick from the overwhelming smorgasbord of mediocrity. Here are a few delicious helpings that I enjoyed recently.