Monday, February 23, 2009

Firefly - Dupont Circle, DC

For DC restaurant week, 3 of my girl friends and I went to Firefly in Dupont Circle. It's located about 2 blocks away from the main circle if you want to drive and find street parking. Otherwise the closest metro stop would be Dupont Circle on the Red line.

Why I wanted to try this place:
-I've heard good reviews about it online and from others
-Its a much more casual environment compared to some places also participating in Restaurant Week
-They use local produce and recycled paper take-out boxes

There seemed to be a large patio out front, but I'm not sure if you would be able to eat outside during the summer or not.

What a cool logo!
Firefly is located underneath a hotel, so we actually missed it while we were driving by, so keep your eyes peeled.

The interior was very warm and cozy. The focal point of the restaurant features a tree (fake) that looks like its branches are growing into the ceiling. The place is fairly small, with low ceilings.

This is the main dining room with illuninated logs on the wall, and nice wooden furniture everywhere. It was packed when we walked in, but this was the photo around 4pm.

On the other side of the restaurant is a much smaller dining area that isn't as woodsy and receives a lot of light from the floor to ceiling windows.

They have a bar with a large drink menu, and bar tables if that is where you'd prefer to eat.

I thought it was cool that you could see into the kitchen through a glass that was partially covered up by a stone wall.

Since it was crowded when we arrived around 1pm, we were seated in their back room that had about 5 tables. It had 3 normal white walls, and the stone wall was shared with the kitchen.

As we were waiting for our food we received some really good bread and butter.

Here is a picture of their brunch menu. We thought we were going to have their lunch menu, however they only serve brunch Sunday afternoons. Oh well, now we know.

My cousin inquired about the 'Deviled eggs - 4 hard boiled egg, dried caper, & garlic chips' for $4 (lunch price). The server said they aren't usually made for brunch, however the kitchen could make them. She ended up not ordering them, however Firefly had already made them, so they gave them to us on the house. What a gracious place!

The restaurant week deal is a 3-course meal for $20.09 from a special Restaurant Week menu.

For my 1st course, I ordered the 'Pomegranite Mimosa' which seemed to be special for the Restaurant Week brunch because it isn't on the regular brunch menu. It was good, but hard to drink around 1pm.

For my 2nd course, I ordered 'Pop Pop’s French Toast - Orange & vanilla dipped challah with with apple-raisin compote, maple syrup' that would've been $12. I loved it! I ate the entire thing really fast. The texture was great, the apple and raisin compote was a nice touch, and the maple syrup wasn't too overpowering.

My 3rd course was a 'Blueberry Muffin' that would've been $4. It was really big! It tasted good, however it didn't taste like they baked them there.

One of my friends ordered off the regular Brunch menu and go the 'Hog roll - Grilled Italian sausage with 3 fried oysters and sautéed peppers & onions on baguette' for $15. Usually the fried oysters are inside of the roll, but she asked for them on the side.

Another friend got the 'Beef hamburger with vermont cheddar, onion roll & fries', which would've been $13. It was huge!

My cousin ordered the 'French dip - roast beef, au jus, horseradish cream, fries, with or without cheese' which would've cost $13. Some places automatically dip the sandwich into the au jus, but it was nice that they put it on the side.

My friend and cousin got the same 3rd course/side dish of 'Mixed greens with sherry vinegrette'. I tried some and found it to be mediocre.

Even though we were stuffed, there is ALWAYS room for dessert. I liked their wide selection of items.

All four of us shared the 'Carrot cake with pumpkin cheesecake “icing” - cinnamon crème anglaise, apple cider syrup' for $9. It was really awesome because the stuff ontop was just a scoop of cheesecake. It was really delicious and we finished it all.

Our check came in a mason jar with holes on top! Like we are about to catch fire flies. How cute!

I enjoyed my brunch very much. The atmostphere was not stuffy, but it still was classy. The service was supurb! Our server was super helpful, friendly and nice. I was satisfied with my dishes and you can't beat the DC Restaurant Week deal. Main dishes for lunch range from $11-20.
The check for the 4 of us without tip was around $96.

1310 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Monday - Friday, 7 am - 10 am
Saturday, 8 am - 10 am

Monday - Friday, 11:30 am - 2:30 pm

Sunday, 9 am - 2 pm

Sunday - Thursday, 5:30 pm to 10 pm
Friday & Saturday, 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm

Happy Hour:
Monday - Friday, 5 pm - 6 pm

Firefly - DC on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Valentine's Day Dinner

Last week was Valentine's Day, and the bf surprised my with some beautiful long stem roses. We had to go out and buy a taller vase since he didn't want me to cut them to fit the vases we had at home.

We also discussed not exchanging gifts this year since we've been trying to save, but he surprised me. Our beloved dog Riley passed away a little over 2 weeks ago, so he made a small picture book of our favorite photos. I loved it...

As you all know, I don't really cook, so for Vday we decided to stay in and cook something special for a change. Going out is way $$ and crowded on Vday anyway.

We decided to make Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis' most popular dish on - Chicken Tetrazzini. It had over 750 reviews and it received an average of 5 stars, so we figured it had to be good!

It took a lot of work since we aren't very skilled in the kitchen, but it turned out really delicious! Very creamy, flavorful and just an overall fulfilling dish.

Here is the recipe straight off of the site:


9 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 ounces linguine3/4 cup frozen peas1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a deep large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and into a large bowl.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil to the same pan. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.

Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add the linguine, sauce, peas, and parsley to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended.

Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes.

For dessert I kept it simple and baked Duncan Hines' Family Style brownies for our brownie sundaes!

I microwaved the brownie for 30 secs, then put Turkey Hill French Vanilla ice cream on top with Ghirardelli white chocolate shaved all around. I used a potato peeler (saw it on Food Network) to get the cool spirals.

Hope you guys enjoyed your Vdays too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mosaic Cuisine & Cafe - Rockville, MD

I met up with one of my old college friends for dinner at Mosaic Cuisine & Cafe since we've always seen it driving down Rockville Pike, and because we've met up at Burtucci's three times before and we wanted something new!

Mosaic Cuisine & Cafe is located in Rockville near the Whole Foods in Congressional Plaza. The closest metro station would be Twinbrook on the Red Line. The front of the restaurant faces a road, but the parking is located in the rear, and it is free.

This photo is of the back entrance to the restaurant via the parking lot.

The interior is set up with booths and tables, and has a roomy feel to it. We were sitting in the middle of the restaurant, so this is the front of the place. I liked the casual but classy feel that the place had.

This is the tiny side of the restaurant that is near the road entrance.

The booths are so cute and roomy. They have pillows and a lot of elbow room if you needed to fit 4 people. The white cloth napkins, wine glasses and placemats were a nice touch too.

The restaurant describes their cusine as being 'Eclectic' and taking French cusine and adding Belguim, Italian and American influences. For example, instead of bread, they offer waffles. I was a bit skeptical of how waffles would go with my food, however they aren't sweet breakfast waffles. They are a bit more crisp and airy, and taste more like a garlic bread.

I wasn't starving that night, so I did not order their Famous Waffle Sandwich called a Waffleissimo. It's a sandwich or burger with waffles as the buns. Someone please try it and let me know how it is!

I ordered a bowl of their 'Tomato Pesto and Coriander Soup - silky and fragrant with a swirl of jade sauce (Vegetarian)' for $7.50. I loved the jade sauce made into a sad face. It was quite unexpected and it looks like a sad Kool Aid man. I loved the soup! It was flavorful, had a great smooth texture and had the right amount of acid. It was served with 1/2 a waffle, and I enjoyed dipping it into the soup.

I then ordered a side of Sweet Potato Fries for $4. I'm a huge fan of all things sweet potato, so I was excited when I saw it on the menu. The fries however were a bit oily and lacked seasoning.

As an appetizer, my friend ordered a bowl of 'Wild Mushroom Soup - shiitake and forest mushrooms simmered with herbs, finished with a touch of cream (Vegetarian)' for $7.50. She said she liked it.

For her entree she ordered the 'Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta tossed in Balsamic dressing' for $12. The salmon was added on for an extra $7. The salad was HUGE! So you definetly get your money's worth, and she took some of it home.

She also ordered a side of 'Potatoes Gratin' for $5. I heart my friends because they love to eat too!

It's a nice casual place to get some food if you're in the mood for something a little different. The server we had was super attentive, so that was a plus. The overall prices are between $4-$20 for dinner.
They offer breakfast/brunch everyday until 2pm with sweet and savory dishes like waffles, omelettes, and eggs benedict.
Lunch is offered daily from 2pm-5pm with soup and salad options.
Then dinner is served beginning at 5pm. They also offer around 9 different desserts including crepes. I'm sad I was too full to order any!

186 Halpine Road
Rockville, MD 20852

Sunday through Thursday: 8:00 AM until 9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday: 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM

Mosaic Cuisine and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Haandi - Bethesda, MD

For my cousin's birthday our girl friends and I went to Haandi for dinner. It is an Indian restaurant located in Bethesda with the closest Metro stop being Bethesda on the Red Line. There is meter parking available on the street as well.

Haandi has been mentioned in Washingtonian Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Asia Today and Zagat Survey, just to name a few.

Sorry for the blurry pic!

The inside is quite classy with a really cool looking ceiling, white table clothes and napkins, and plenty of large round tables. This photo shows about 1/2 the restaurant.

Here is a blurry picture (geeez...) of the bar they have in the back.

The drink I always order at an Indian restaurant is the mango lassi. It's a yogurt-based drink with mango. It costs $4 and is thick, sweet and tastes like a fresh mango.

For our appetizer we ordered the 'Assorted Appetizer Platter - a combination of samosas, sabzi bhajiyas, murgh tikka and seekh kabab' for $12. My favorite one was the 'Samosa - deep fried pastry triangles stuff ed with spiced potatoes and green peas' because I love fried things and potatoes. They are the large items on the right.

Here are two dipping sauces provided. The one to the right is a Green Coriander Chutney and the brown one is a Tamarind Chutney. I like to eat everything with the Green Coriander sauce.

This is what some of the items look like on the inside.

Our table got 2 big plates of Basmati rice to go with our dishes. It was really light, fluffy and we finished all the rice by the end of dinner.

I enjoyed this dish so much at India Grill that I wanted to try it here. I ordered the 'Palak Paneer - homemade farmer cheese cubes, spinach cooked in green herbs and spices' for $11. Compared to India Grill's version, the spinach had a whipped texture and there wasn't much cheese in it. It still tasted good, I was just surprised by the texture.

I took pictures of all of my friends' dishes to show some of the choices available.

This is 'Sheesh Kabab Murgh - strips of boneless chicken breast marinated in yogurt, herbs and spices, skewered with tomatoes, onions and bell peppers' for $14.

'Baigan Bharta - eggplant roasted in tandoor clay oven sauteed with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, panchporan (a very special fire spice mixture)' for $10.

'Murg Makhihi - barbecued chunks of boneless chicken breast cooked in fresh cream, based tomato curry sauce' for $16.

'Murg Do Pyaza - boneless chicken sauteed in fresh onions, tomatoes in a creamy curry sauce' for $14.

Overall the dinner was fine. The servers were attentive, and there was a lot of room to just be loud and chat without bothering others. The entrees range between $10-$20. The menu is fairly extensive with dishes including from vegetarian, seafood, wok entrees, chicken, lamb, charcoal barbecues, and special tandoori breads. They also offer a daily lunch buffet.

4904 Fairmont Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

Lunch: 11:30AM - 2:30PM (Monday-Sunday)
Dinner: 5PM - 10PM (Sunday-Thursday)
5PM - 10:30PM (Friday-Saturday)


Haandi Fine Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon