I get a lot of emails with recipes from blog subscriptions, magazines, etc... Some I delete, knowing they aren't my style. Most I archive to make later. Very few inspire me to make them ASAP; this recipe was one of those few. Shakshuka is a dish of Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian, and Moroccan origin that consists of eggs poached in spiced tomato sauce.
This recipe, from Bessou restaurant in NYC (via Tasting Table), puts a Japanese spin on the dish. It was that fusion element that caught my eye. The tomato sauce is spiced with Japanese curry powder and cumin. Roasted kabocha squash is added, along with poached eggs. The original is topped with miso marinated tofu - I went for miso flavored labneh, instead. Lastly, it is sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, and served with toasted Japanese milk bread.
The tomato sauce is so fragrant and spicy (the original recipe uses harissa, too, but the curry powder was enough heat for me). It is counterbalanced by the sweet squash, tart pomegranate seeds, cool labneh, and creamy egg yolk. The squash and the pomegranate add varying texture, too, along with the crispy toast. And the miso adds this funky umami note that adds to the complexity. Dipping that perfectly crispy toast into the runny yolk and velvety tomato sauce is just so insanely satisfying.
The new Mosaic Shopping Center in Merrifield, VA is super cool. There's a Target, an indie movie theater, a gym, boutiques, and cafes. Sea Pearl is one of the larger, less casual restaurants in the center. The website describes it as "Asian inspired modern American cuisine." The main focus is seafood - they have both cooked dishes and sushi - but they also have some meat dishes and a pretty good brunch (on Saturday, too, which I love). It's quite large and the decor is really lovely. It's a little on the feminine side, which would make it perfect for ladies' brunch or girls' night out (the drinks are good, but with DC prices). I've never seen it packed, so large groups could be seated easily.
Let's start with Brunch, because that is what I go for most often.
Cinnamon churros with warm chocolate dipping sauce: these are super awesome - hot, fresh, crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Love it.
Ricotta fritters with honey and seasonal fruit (this time it was apple): these are good too, fluffy and rich. If you had to choose only one pastry though, I'd go with the churros.
I have been going to Maple Avenue Restaurant (located on, you guessed it, Maple Ave) for lunch pretty regularly the past couple of months. I am so sad that I didn't discover this place sooner, because it is awesome! It is super tiny (like 20 seats max) and not much to look at, but the food is super fresh and seasonal and local and just great all around. I don't know much about the chef, I haven't been to one of their "meet the farmers" events, and I haven't even been for dinner, but I just love this place. They have a super awesome lunch deal of 2 courses for $20 which, considering a main is like $22 usually, is a pretty good bargain. The menu changes all the time, so it's likely that dishes I post about here won't be on the menu any more, but they can give you an idea of what you can expect.
The baked mac and cheese - this is one of their most popular small plates, and for good reason! Really good pasta, cooked to the perfect al dente, with gruyere and cheddar, topped with an herbed panko crust.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel has lots of great food options which was a nice bonus for staying there. My favorite has to be Holstein's Burgers, which has a huge selection of glam burgers and adult milkshakes. They also have a good bar with a whole menu of drinks based around my favorite liquor - St Germain.
This was my first meal at the trendy burger spot (yes, I went back) - The Billionaire Burger with Kobe beef, foie gras, port onion marmalade, frisee, and truffle mayo. Fan-freaking-tastic. I got it with sweet potato fries and the Drunken Monkey Shake (Reese’s, banana, malt, Frangelico).