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Monday, January 18, 2010

Update your bookmarks!

Just a reminder...

We've moved to Travel, Eat, Repeat!

Update your bookmarks, readers and links to www.traveleatrepeat.com.

I'll see you there.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Moving on up!

I'm in the process of upgrading to a self-hosted Wordpress site but -- technologically-challenged me! -- it's taking a while to import the past 2 years' worth of posts and photos.

Hopefully tomorrow things will be up and running. It's on to bigger and better things in 2010!

Stay tuned... good things to come!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pizza made simple

Examiner.com: Hidden Washington: Bizarre monuments

Remember the other day when I laid out my rules for good pizza? Thin crust, light on the cheese and sauce, lots of veggies... That can be hard to find though as too often, delivery pizza is greasy, gooey and gross.

Looking closely at this picture, I realized that every single ingredient was from TJ's. Sad, really.

So why order mediocre delivery -- or pay the big bucks for a gourmet pie -- when homemade pizza is easy, cheap and healthy?

Trader Joe's -- oh yes, it all comes back to TJ's -- sells amazing whole wheat pizza dough for .99. You can't beat that! My family split the dough into thirds so each person could make her own individual pizza.

So good! I loaded mine down with a little homemade tomato sauce, a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella, and huge handfuls of spinach, bell pepper and tomato. Top with basil, pop into the oven at 350* for 10-12 minutes and -- done!

The TJ's crust has the perfect chewy consistency and since you control every topping, there's no grease or oil to mop up. Paired with a salad, this was perfect for dinner and, even after my sister dropped half on the floor, was equally tasty the next day for lunch. Hey, you shouldn't waste food! ;)

All told, this homemade pizza was a fraction of the cost of ordering out, with way fewer calories and fat. Before, I've made pizza at home using tortillas or pita bread, both good alternatives but not quite the same as "real" pizza. No more.

Call me a convert but don't call Domino's.

Do you try to recreate and/or healthify your favorite foods at home? Recipes, please!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Neighborhood envy

Examiner.com: Hidden Washington: DC's quirkiest museums

If Dupont Circle/Adams Morgan is where I want to live as a 20-something, Georgetown is my dream neighborhood as a wealthy adult.

(Side note: If any DCites know of a decent apartment or building in either of those locations, with reasonable rent and available from May or later -- help a blogger out!)

Formerly Riggs Bank, until the bank went bust (M Street)

Walking around this neighborhood is an attraction in itself. The best shopping in the city, amazing restaurants (tons of little cafes and bistros) and stunning architecture. I could spend an afternoon walking through the back streets, gazing at old homes and finding hidden gems.

One of Washington's most historic neighborhoods, Georgetown still has some cobblestone streets and sidewalks, and the city's oldest standing building, Old Stone House, from 1765, is also here.

Most people don't come to Georgetown for a history lesson, though. They come to shop and eat! M Street is the most popular shopping corridor, with block after block of both chain stores and boutiques. The secondhand shops (like Annie Creamcheese and Second Time Around) are also worth checking out for fantastic used and vintage finds. If nothing else, there's always the mall.

It's also a favorite post-church brunch spot for my family. Bistro Francais, Bistro Lepic -- can you tell we like French food?

I think the reason Georgetown is so appealing is that it has a true neighborhood feel, which can be hard to find a big city. Once you're off the main streets, the neighborhood has parks, churches and small museums with a quaint feel. Ignore the million-dollar price tags and you can picture yourself living here.

Do you have a dream neighborhood?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

For love of pumpkin #4

Examiner.com: How to have winter fun without skis

Just because it's January, that doesn't mean pumpkin love has to come to an end. Pumpkin spice might not be an option anymore -- my new Starbucks obsession is a tall soy extra-hot misto (the fancy name Starbucks gave basic cafe au lait) with one shot of peppermint -- but other pumpkin foods are still in the weekly rotation.

Take this pumpkin spice tea. My cousin, Maria, gifted it to me for Christmas along with a vegetarian cookbook from Moosewood Restaurant, which I really want to visit after salivating over the book from cover-to-cover. Can't wait to try out some of the recipes!

I was a little hesitant at first because the tea doesn't have the pleasant aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, as expected, but instead has an almost rotten odor, like when squash sits for too long.

Once it brewed though, scent aside, it tastes delicious. With a hint of spice, it's nice on its own or -- pumpkin heaven here -- alongside a slice of vegan pumpkin bread.

Check out my Maryland mug, too -- it's actually my mom's but until the College of Journalism releases a line of dishware, I'm stealing this.

What's your favorite kind of tea? I normally prefer plain black tea with a splash of milk and a little sugar or agave nectar.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Food, glorious food!

Examiner.com: A 2010 guide to Washington, DC

Do you remember the best meal of your life?

I do. It was (obviously) in my pre-vegetarian days at a pub in Dublin. I was never a huge meat eater but everyone said I "had" to try beef and Guinness stew while in Ireland.

So I did and this is what came to the table:

Holy yum. First, the greatest food ever invented is mashed potatoes so it's a total win on that count. Underneath the potatoes is the stew itself, and on the side were roasted parsnips or swede (rutabaga) and sweet potato, if memory serves correctly.

I can't explain why this meal was so incredible -- maybe it was the pouring rain outside, chilly fall weather and total blanket of fog that hits Ireland in mid-November that made this hot and hearty meal a winner. (Note to other travelers: November is probably not the best time to visit Ireland.)

Over the course of two days in Ireland, I ate this same meal twice, including once at a pub where the owner complimented my name ("Erin" is the Irish name for Ireland) and then especially-made the stew for me when it wasn't on the menu. Erin go bragh.

The runner-up has to be every single meal I ate in Thailand. This green curry was the first thing I ate arriving in Chiang Mai so it's probably the most memorable:

What was your favorite meal ever?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A day at the museum

Make a resolution: Enjoy family-friendly DC

I haven't taken nearly as much advantage of the city's museums as I expected to over the past couple of months. Between spending two weeks in Indiana, a long weekend in Costa Rica and the holidays, it seems like weekends have been pretty booked.

Besides a quick pop into the National Archives (hadn't been there since a school fieldtrip in fourth grade), a quiet Sunday at Dumbarton Oaks and a brief stroll through the National Gallery of Art, I've totally failed at any real cultural outings.

Luckily, Lauren is a great museum buddy and is always looking for people to explore with. After a delicious lunch at Matchbox Sunday, we decided to check out the closest museum, the National Portrait Gallery.

Since its renovation a few years ago, this has become of one of my favorite museums. It is so architecturally stunning that you could just wander the halls and admire the decor without ever seeing a painting or work of art. The building itself is the work of art.

Probably the most famous collection is the Hall of Presidents, which has portraits of every U.S. President and a big ceremony each time a new presidential portrait is unveiled. It's interesting seeing the progression from 18th century oil paintings to more modern representations of 20th century leaders.

A couple of years ago, Stephen Colbert famously got the Portrait Gallery to temporarily display a painting of him, which hung next to the bathroom just outside the Hall of Presidents.

January 2008 - seeing Stephen Colbert's portrait definitely beat the presidents

There are always various special exhibits but a real highlight is "Faces of the Frontier: Photographic Portraits of the American West, 1845-1924." These early photographs capture the true spirit of American westward expansion, both the good and the bad. Pictures of intrepid explorers and pioneers are intermingled with photos of subjugated American Indians, brought to Washington and posed.

Modern art

Just walking through the exhibit is a history lesson.

Attached via a courtyard is the American Art Museum -- it's easy to see both in afternoon without ever having to go outside. Lauren and I both enjoyed an exhibit on the American Civil War, with rare Matthew Brady photographs. It was fun learning about the "hidden" side of American history, too, like the story of Pauline Cushman, an actress turned spy for the Union. Who knew? (We sure didn't!)

The best thing about DC's museums? They are nearly all free! It's incredible to see great works of art up close (including the only da Vinci painting in the Western hemisphere) for no cost. Makes for a fun, free afternoon outing.

Do you like visiting museums?