Well Dined

16May/140

Sweetgreen

Well Dined | Sweetgreen

I have an obsession... with a salad shop.  This must be what being an adult feels like.  I never used to like salads AT ALL, and then I tried Sweetgreen and now a salad is my treat to myself after working out.  Not like, "oh don't wanna ruin that workout, so here's a salad;" but like "good job, now you GET to eat this salad."  Weiiiiiiiiird.  Who am I?

Well Dined | Sweetgreen

Anywho, Sweetgreen is awesome.  It's like any fast food joint (Chipotle, Subway, etc...) where you travel down the line and build your meal, in this case - a yummy salad made with local ingredients (check the blackboard to see which vendors they use).

Well Dined | Sweetgreen

They have a number of pre-designed salads (my favorite is the District Cobb) and one seasonal salad per month (above photo is the May 2014 salad), or you can go custom.  You can also customize a menu salad.  For example, I like to get the District Cobb but swap sweet potatoes in for tomatoes and change the dressing to balsamic vinaigrette (which is super good).  You get to choose how much dressing you want (light, medium, heavy) and also if you want bread (the bread is really good, but I try to resist).

7Dec/130

Bend, OR Restaurants

In addition to our awesome holiday meal (read more here), we also ate out a lot while we were in Bend, OR last week.

We ordered breakfast from room service at our hotel, The Oxford, a few times and it was really good.  The french toast with berry compote, in particular, was awesome.  Right next door to the hotel is a brand new doughnut place (as in they opened their doors for the first time the Saturday after Thanksgiving) called Luvs Doughnuts.  They make small batches and sell the day-old doughnuts for 50 cents!  I had a glazed-yeast raised and Jasper had a chocolate-dipped blueberry cake doughnut - they were pretty good!  I also enjoyed my chai latte from there - nice strong flavor.

We also ate at a local breakfast/brunch institution - Chow, which is open every day from 7-2.  They focus on local vendors and sustainability and accommodate pretty much any diet.  They are happy to make up a unique dish just for you if nothing on the menu suits you.  They also have some killer guava mimosas (or man-mosas if you want a bigger drink).  This is the only restaurant I thought to take pictures at, so enjoy!

Well Dined | Chow

Blurry - sorry!

 Bagel with cream cheese, pickled veg (celery, carrots, green beans), salmon, and sprouts.

Well Dined | Chow

Chow has a number of signature egg dishes.  This one is the blackstone - with poached eggs, cornmeal crusted tomatoes, spinach, bacon, and bearnaise over polenta.  Super yummy.

Well Dined | Chow

This was the omelette of the day with house potatoes.  They make their own hot sauces here, and from what I heard the Carrot-Habanero was amazingly hot and tasty.

4Nov/130

Harth at Hilton Mclean Tyson’s Corner

I'd been meaning to try this restaurant for a while, but it is inside a hotel which always makes me wary - overpriced and mediocre quality are the norm.  The website claims that the chef is devoted to farm-to-table cooking and that they have an organic garden that provide herbs and produce and that they use local meats - I'm a sucker for all of that.  So I finally just went over there for lunch to try it out.

My first impression was that the space is GORGEOUS - modern, impeccably designed.  The hotel is very modern and upscale on the inside, too - which you cannot tell from the outside.  The restaurant is long and narrow, with huge windows that run down the entire length of one side and provide lots of light during the day.  When you enter, you walk past the kitchen with wood burning stove (hence the name) on the right and a large, glass-encased wine room on the left.  The dining room is decorated with pearlescent white leather, pale green, and purple alligator print - very modern and luxe.  There are glass fireplaces set at intervals throughout, just in case you forgot the name of the restaurant.  It's very trendy and modern and I totally love it.

Now, the food - good quality with inconsistent pricing.

Well Dined | Harth

The lobster roll is what brought me here over the summer.  The quality of the lobster salad was good and the buttery brioche bread was tasty, but as usual the ratio of bread to lobster was too high.  Red Hook Lobster Pound really has spoiled me for life.  I wasn't a big fan of the house chips - nice crunch but no flavor.  The pickles, however, were fantastic - and served in an adorable tiny jar with a tiny spear fork.

Well Dined | Harth

This turkey sandwich is very much Thanksgiving-esque with caramelized onion, cranberry mayo, and their signature bacon jam.  That isn't deli turkey, either - it is big slabs of roasted turkey breast.  Huge, delicious, good value.

Well Dined | Harth

The fall agnolotti was very good, too, wit brown butter, crispy sage, lemon ricotta, and walnuts.  I didn't see any figs though, which are listed in the description.  Here's where the prices here get a little wonky - that giant turkey sandwich was $13.50, and this tiny appetizer sized pasta (which is billed as an entree) is $16.  I mean - what?

Well Dined | Harth

My husband said he liked this turkey chili with white beans, cheddar, creme friache, and hot sauce.  But I thought it was overpriced - $20 for a bowl of chili, just because it's listed as a main instead of a soup or appetizer.

Well Dined | Harth

Here is an example of the uneven pricing that swings the other way, thank goodness.  This giant dessert of fresh made butterscotch pudding (served warm) with scotch soaked pound cake, salted caramel sauce, and fresh whipped cream is enough for 4 people, easy - and it's priced the same as the other desserts!  It is ridiculously decadent and delicious and I love that they serve it in a pot with the little Le Creuset spatula.

Well Dined | Harth

We also got to try a free dessert that the chef was working on - angel food cake with more of that salted caramel and whipped cream.  When I saw it I thought - boring.  But it was actually really good.  The thing with simple dishes is that each component has to be top notch, and that was the case here.  Now I get why the chef wanted people to try it for free - you might not order that if you saw it on the menu, but once you knew how good it was that would change.

Well Dined | Harth

Here's an insider tip - if you check in using the Yelp app, you will get a coupon to take home a little jar of bacon jam!  Do it - it's fantastic.

My takeaway from Harth is that the main plates are overpriced, so stay away from those.  Stick with the creative sandwiches, huge salads, and wood fired flatbreads.  If you are with a group, definitely get that butterscotch pudding.  And take advantage of the fact that Mon-Fri any glass of wine is $8.

http://www.hiltonmclean.com/Harth

20Apr/120

Foie Gras

You may have noticed from reading my restaurant reviews that I LOVE foie gras.  I know that many people have a problem with it, and I want to assure you that I am fully aware of how it is made.  Every time I have ever eaten foie - it has come from Hudson Valley Farms in NY state.  This domestic producer is humane, I repeat HUMANE, and takes very good care of their animals.  For information on how they care for and feed their ducks, and a scientific explanation of why it is not painful - please watch the following videos:
Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations

Hudson Valley Foie Gras: The Truth