Al Dente Express: Founding Farmers, Washington, D.C.

NOTE: Al Dente Express is my answer for what to do when I want to talk about a place or places I visited, but it doesn’t warrant a full-on, exhaustive review. In this case, I wrote the review last year and found myself drawn back to Founding Farmers TWICE during my recent business trip.

Southern Pan-Fried Chicken and Waffles with macaroni and cheese and grilled broccolini

Southern Pan-Fried Chicken and Waffles with macaroni and cheese and grilled broccolini

Butcher's Farmhouse Grill: Two Baby Cheeseburgers, Chili Dog, Fork Tender Pork Ribs, Potato Salad and Farmer's Chips

Butcher’s Farmhouse Grill: Two Baby Cheeseburgers, Chili Dog, Fork Tender Pork Ribs, Potato Salad and Macaroni & Cheese

Popcorn of the Day: Old Bay and Butter

Popcorn of the Day: Old Bay and Butter

Saturday Dinner: An Ode to Slater’s 50/50

Photo Apr 12, 5 29 54 PM (HDR)

Side Hill Farmers’ ground beef and bacon, grilled medium, with smoked gouda cheese and tomato on a toasted kaiser roll. Bacon and beef burgers are important. Just ask the people at Slater’s 50/50.

Grocery List: April 13, 2014

Photo Apr 13, 10 24 03 AM

(SIDE NOTE: We have new paper. Who needs a bucket list, really?)

“I think we have to pound that in a little better.”

I have no idea what The Wife is talking about, though it’s not that far off from the typical Sunday morning chatter around here. That said, I’m glad to be home.

You don’t appreciate the mundane routine in your life until you are broken from it for a few days. Not that The Wife and The Kid are mundane. Quite the opposite, actually. As I was typing this, The Kid picked the least passable route through the kitchen to go from point A to point B while bellowing “Let It Go.” That route, by the way, was in between me and the dishwasher — a space of about 8 inches — and involved two sharp elbows to my kidneys. The grocery list is assembled and now I’m contemplating whether to change out of my sweatpants into shorts or not.  Read the rest of this entry

Wednesday Dinner: Yasmin Fahr’s Greek-Style Pilaf with Chicken Thighs

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Have we discussed Yasmin Fahr before? We have. Okay, well, suffice it to say I’m a big fan of the recipes she develops, though I was skeptical of this one. First, I didn’t think that a pilaf with cooked meat would come together in less than 40 minutes of active cooking. I was wrong. Second, I was worried that the artichokes would taste funny among the otherwise bland rice and chicken. Again, wrong.

Third, I thought that the feta would make things messy. The jury is still out there as this was the item I forgot at the store this week. There’s usually one. I’m okay with feta being the forgotten one. It’s usually a bigger problem when I forget milk  or yogurt, staples of The Kid’s diet. Read the rest of this entry

Jaleo, Bethesda, Md.




Tapas are the smorgasbord of the new millennium. In the 1970s and 1980s, smorgasbord became interchangeable with “all you can eat restaurant buffet,” losing its Scandanavian heritage along the way. Tapas have become a bastardized American restaurant style of eating a lot of high-priced appetizers.

Of course, the spirit of tapas is sharing. If you haven’t watched the episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown where he visits Andalucia, I would encourage you. Not only because the show was a showcase of a beautiful part of the world, which it was, but it explains the origin and communal spirit of tapas. The scene where Bourdian and his friends sit in the plaza sipping wine and eating food seems impossible to replicate in America. One, it’s just not our country’s style. Two, for some reason daydrinking is frowned upon.


Read the rest of this entry

Tuesday Dinner: Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Mushroom-Shallot Sauce

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Sometimes I buy things for dinner and don’t cook them. For instance, I picked up a pork tenderloin about a week ago. I’m not 100 percent sure what I was going to do with it but I’m crafty and figured I would come up with something. A combination of things got in the way and I ended up not cooking the pork, which meant that the vacuum-packed pork sword remained in the fridge taking up some space. I think it also began to irritate The Wife. On Saturday, I asked The Wife what she wanted for dinner. She asked if I was going to make the pork sword. On Sunday, I asked the question again and received the same answer.

Finally, I stopped asking because I knew I was going to cook it but didn’t want to incur the silent wrath of The Wife, who doubles as our household C.F.O. and likely saw the pork sword as an investment of $5 that may go bad. I can appreciate that. So, I finally broke down and made it. Read the rest of this entry

Al Dente Frozen: Thin Mint Ice Cream

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Dirty secret: I don’t like Thin Mint cookies.

Yeah, I don’t know why. I’m not a big mint person to begin with, though I like Samoas but really don’t like coconut. When it is time to buy Girl Scout Cookies each year (or twice a year depending on what troop sells them when), I order a box of them for The Wife because, well, she does like them. (Side Note: I really like the cranberry-white fudge cookies this year.)

(Second Side Note: For all of the propaganda about how selling cookies is an educational experience for girls, which of course is bullshit because you mostly buy them from parents of girls, I think there ought to be a lesson on economies of scale, and supply and demand. This year’s order, which I placed through the mother of a child in The Kid’s preschool, was $4 a box and probably had 1/3 of the cookies as they did 10 years ago.)

(Third Side Note: Have you ever met the mother responsible for being the troop’s “Cookie Mom?” Go ahead and ask them what it’s like to be Cookie Mom and see what the reaction is. It’s okay, I’ll wait and then drive you to urgent care because they are so beaten and damaged after the experience that they may strike you.) Read the rest of this entry

Beer From Other States (or My In-Laws Are Better Than Your In-Laws Part II)

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Last year, I got a bright idea. The In-Laws were spending a month in Myrtle Beach and I thought maybe, just maybe, I could get them to bring some beer home for me. As a result, I got my hands on some R.J. Rocker’s Son of a Peach, New South Brewing White Ale and Sweetwater Blue, in addition to a sixer of Shiner White Hare Pale Ale.

They made a fatal mistake, though. They told me that they “had fun” hunting for the beer and that it gave them something to do on one of the rainy days that kept them off the beach. Fun? This is fun? Heh heh.

Now, rewind a couple of years. Before Shiner made its debut in Upstate America, I was hooked solidly on Shiner Bock. In need of a fix, I sent The Aunt out shopping while she was visiting friends in Bethany Beach, Md. She said that it gave her something to do on a rainy day and that she thought it was fun to walk in the stores and run the staff around looking for beer. She said that an old lady looking for beer is not something that they often see.

Another one who finds this stuff fun. Seriously, who goes on extended vacations and finds shopping for beer for their relatives fun? I’m not trying to bite the hand that feeds me, but I’m confused nonetheless. Read the rest of this entry


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