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Eating DC: Espita Mezcaleria

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City Guides:
A Beginners Guide to Eating in SF
Gracie’s Grand Guide to Paris
Best TWO Burgers in DC
DC Going Out Guide (2015)
Hana Japanese Market DC

Study Abroad: Paris Spring 2014
About Studying Abroad in Paris
Week 1: Wandering Around Paris
Weeks 1.5 & 2: More Wandering Pairs & a Short Trip to Chartres
Week 3: Cheeky Trip to London & Seeing Lizzie in Nottingham
Week 4: Adventures in Belgium- Beer, Chocolate & Too Many Frites
Week 5: A Weekend in Paris
Week 6: Parents in Paris & a Trip to Versailles
Week 7: More Paris & a Wee Bit of Scotland
Week 8: Ich Sah Berlin
Week 9: Staying in Paris & a Book Market
Week 10: I Went to Amsterdam & Never Wanted to Leave
Weeks 11 & 12: Spring Break in Espana
Weeks 13 & 14: Friends in Paris!
Weeks 15 & 16: More Personal Time with Paris
A Day in the Life- Follow Me Around!

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About Me

Hi I’m Gracie- author and owner of The Brisket Diaries.  I originally hail from the farm-to-table capital of the world: Marin County, California and currently live and work across the country in Washington, DC.  (I moved out to DC in 2011 to attend American University and have been here ever since!).

I developed a love for cooking watching my dad in the kitchen; in my house, food is our love language.   My dad has always been the cook of the family, although that is slightly ironic seeing as he has always traveled a lot for work.  When he was away, my younger sister and I were stuck with my mom’s ‘babysitter’ food; tater tots, sloppy Joe’s, scrambled eggs, pasta with meat sauce… you get the point.  As I grew older, so did my palate and lust for good food.

From a young age, my parents introduced good quality and ethnic foods into my sister and my life.  Our highchairs were clipped to a sushi bar and we constantly asked for Dim Sum on Sunday mornings.  Our family trips revolved around where were going to eat at that destination and sometimes we even picked our vacation destinations BECAUSE of the food.

My influence for cooking and food absolutely stem from my upbringing in Northern, CA (did someone say farmer’s market?), learning how to cook for myself while living alone in DC, studying abroad in Paris and my fascination with Asian cuisine.  I love shopping at H-mart, racking up OpenTable points, collecting cookbooks and finding new restaurants to try with my friends. I am passionate about family history, and to me, food is a huge part of that.  (Currently in the process of collecting a bunch of old family recipes).  Blogging about food is just an excuse to try new recipes and restaurants and I might as well share my adventures with you along the way!

Thank you so much for stopping bye and feel free to stay a while by subscribing to my email list (you will get updated whenever I post something new!)

Why did you call this blog The Brisket Diaries?

As far as I am concerned, the words ‘home food’ directly translate to ‘brisket’. Brisket for every holiday (Jewish and non-Jewish), brisket for Sunday meals with our family friends; brisket is always a number one request for a home-coming meal.  My dad’s brisket is so world-renowned that my sister and I have actually been auctioned off for marriage just so they would have unlimited access to brisket.  Nobody sleeps at the Goldberg house the nights that brisket is in the oven.  The fumes of cooking beef keep all of us up all night long.  The scent weighs heavily throughout the house the way that humidity settles in on a hot summer’s night.  The smell is so dense that we wake up gasping for air that is not sauteed with onions, leeks, and Beef Consume.  To say the least, the mornings after brisket has been in the oven all night are never pretty.  The whole family wakes up disoriented and frustrated due to our lack of sufficient sleep.  In the morning my dad is already back in the kitchen tending lovingly to the meat and preparing his homemade horse radish. Eventually the rest of the family comes down to the kitchen; my sister coming in last and complaining, “All of my clothes smell like brisket!”  Even the strongest smelling perfume could not hide this lingering scent of cooking meat.

Let’s be in touch:
Instagram: @thebrisketdiaries
Twitter: @BrisketDiariess
Email: thebrisketdiaries@gmail.com

Want to give Hungry Harvest a try?  Click this link to get $5 off your first order with the code GRACIEGOLDBERG

Eating DC: Call Your Mother Deli

Call Your Mother Deli, if you live in (and around) DC and haven’t heard of them, have you been living under a rock? Opened by the same team that owns Timber Pizza Co., Call Your Mother Deli is a Jew-ish style deli. Think all your favorites, with a twist!

I first found out about Call Your Mother Deli while going to the Dupont Circle Farmers Market and seeing their stand, and then finding out that their bagels had been sold out since 8 AM!! Prior to going to their store location up in Petworth, I had only had their bagels twice before, once when I lucked out and scored some bagels at the farmers market (thank you, rainy farmers market day) and another time when my friend scored some.

Finally, last weekend, my friend convinced me to make the journey to their store front and face the line outside (which is still going strong, months after opening). At first I was a little mad there was still a line, butttttt it was worth it and the line moved pretty quickly.

On the inside, it is set up like a modern deli (order at the counter, open kitchen, various types of seat) with a very pink and turquoise hipster twist. They offer only a few kinds of bagels (plain, everything, za’atar, sesame) and a plethora of sandwich combos, ranging from your classic lox, capers and onions and bacon, egg and cheeses to the more unique, Pizza Bagels and Jew-ish Tacos. There are challah sandwiches, sides and a variety of drinks (Yoo-hoo chocolate milk, anyone?!)

We ordered: the Shyne bagel (everything bagel, bacon, egg and cheese), the Rihanna Flex bagel (everything bagel, lox, shmear, cucumbers, capers, onions) and of course, a side of latkes.

Everything was delicious- if I were to go back I would stick with the lox bagel. I DID like the Shyne bagel, but I found the cheese they used (maybe Gruyere?) a little too heavy. The latkes were perfect (and I grew up with the best latkes) and they came with some super delicious homemade apple sauce.

Overall, Call Your Mother is 200% worth the line, wait or whatever else is preventing you from going. Sorry Bethesda Bagels, there is a new bagel boss in town.

Neiman Marcus Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup unsalted butter; softened or at room temperature

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips (eye ball it)

1 cup chopped walnuts

Prep:

Preheat the oven to 375F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a standing mixer (with the whisk attachment) cream together the 2 sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla.

Once smooth, add in the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and either mix with a wooden spoon or change your stand mixer attachment to the flat beater attachment.

Note: for more “classic” Neiman Marcus cookies, blend the oats into a coarse powder in a food processor before mixing into the batter. I prefer the texture of the full oats.

With a wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate chips and the chopped walnuts.

Roll into 1 inch balls and place on the baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes and let rest for another 5-10 minutes until the cookies harden slightly.

Blondies

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

8 tbsp butter; melted

1 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Optional:  You can add anything to blondies!  White chocolate chips, shredded coconut, almonds, butterscotch chips, dried fruit, etc.

Batter:

In either a stand mixer (with the whisk attachment) or with a wooden spoon, mix together the brown sugar, egg, vanilla and almond extracts and the melted butter.  Fold in the flour, chocolate chips and nuts.  (Your dough will be super thick and dense, but that is how its supposed to be!)

Bake:

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a metal or glass baking dish with parchment paper and pour in the batter, smoothing it down over the top.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the batter no longer comes out when you poke it.  Let cool slightly before slicing.  Enjoy!

A Weekend In… Washington, DC

Washington, DC, our (if you live in the USA) Nation’s Capitol!!  I think DC is often overlooked- perhaps you think it is too touristy or too straight-edge or not full of culture.  If that is what you think of DC, you are absolutely mistaken.  DC is one of the most diverse, international and culturally vibrant cities in the USA and is absolutely worth your next weekend trip.

Where to stay:

The Line Hotel:  Located in Adam’s Morgan is one of DC’s newer hotels and is definitely worth checking out.

Mason & Rook Hotel: Located off the hustle and bustle of 14th Street Corridor, just a short walk from many amazing restaurants and bars.

The Carlyle Hotel: Located in the heart of DuPont Circle, close to the metro and walking distance from several neighborhoods.

Where to Eat:

Le Diplomate:  (For dinner).  Amazing french food in a beautiful setting that makes you feel like you have just been transported to the bistros of Paris!  Don’t miss the foie gras mousse, roast chicken, warm shrimp salad, steak frite and the profiteroles.

Maydan:  (For dinner).  Maydan is pretty new to the DC restaurant seen but has not gone unnoticed.  Enjoy small, shareable plates from all around the Middle East and North Africa.  Don’t miss the fatoush salad, and variety of grilled veggies and meat.  Maydan also has an “open fire” concept, where everything that is cooked in their restaurant is cooked on an open fire plancha vs. in the oven or stove top.

Duke’s Grocery:  Arguably one of the best burgers in DC, Duke’s is a great fun place with amazing food.  They also have a 12 PM- 7 PM happy hour and a delicious brunch.  For brunch, don’t miss the full English brekkie and for any other meal, definitely get a burger! (And mac and cheese and corn…)

All Purpose Pizzeria:  I love All Purpose for many reasons.  One is because they have Lambrusco and amazing pizza and two because I love the atmosphere.  I feel like I have stepped into a mom and pop pizza shop.  While the menu/ pizza options are constantly changing, you must order the Buono Pizza (that seems to always be on there) because it will blow your mind- pepperoni and chili honey…

Rice:  Rice is probably the best Thai food in DC- in my humble opinion.  The atmosphere is nice and modern, the service is great and the food is even better.  They also have a great happy hour and they deliver!  Their Pad Thai is wrapped in a thin egg omelette and you must try the panang curry and the spicy duck.  

Tiger Fork:  Think Chinese food on a whole different level.  I think Tiger Fork has some of the best fried rice in the business.  Tiger Fork is located in (very) trendy Blagden Alley and has that “renovated warehouse” feel.  They have super trendy decor but even better food and Asian beer.  Don’t miss the fried rice, cheung fun and the smashed cucumber salad.

Lapis Bistro:  This place is unique for many reasons.  First of all its absolutely delicious and unique.  I had never had Afghani food before coming here and now it is something I always crave.  It seems like a mix of Eastern European (Russian), Indian and Middle Eastern Food; there are meat stuffed dumplings, like perogis, samosas, and curries that have similar textures to Indian curries but have the Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern flavors.  Lapis is also such a lovely and cozy spot, with family photos all over the walls.  It is amazing for brunch and dinner!  Don’t miss the karayee for brunch and the mantoo shrimp or beef, mattar, or morgh korma. If it is your first time, try one of the chef’s tasting menus for $65 (for two people).

Commissary:  I think Commissary has one of the best classic brunches in DC.  They have a great selection of eggs, amazing pancakes, andddd great morning beverages (coffee, mimosas, bloody Mary’s).  You really can’t go wrong!  Don’t miss the blueberry pancakes, huevos racheros and the classic breakfast platter.

Where to drink:

Archipelago: Think, non-tacky tiki bar.  Complete with slushie pina coladas, mai tais and more.  Great for a small to medium size group, if you want to sit down or hear the people you are talking to.  Also a great before-dinner-drink spot.

Capo:  If you are looking for a late night spot with amazing drinks and great r&b and hip hop music look no further.  Located in the back of an Italian deli (yes, you can actually get food in the front of the bar), Capo is a super fun and swanky speak easy.

Wet Dog Tavern:  Wet Dog is my go to “chill” bar when the weather is nice.  The bar area is indoors, however the standing room of the bar extends outside into the front and back patios, making it a great good-weather bar.  They have all your classic cocktails, a great beer list and an awesome burger grill in the back area.

Calico:  Calico is a great place for groups or if you are in the mood for something trendy (read: instagrammable, fire pits, adult juice boxes and mixed cocktails).  I think it’s a fun place if you are looking for something different.

Snacks, Coffee & Desserts:

Baked & Wired: When most people think about cupcakes in DC, they often think about Georgetown Cupcakes, but I personally think the best cupcakes in DC are located at Baked & Wired.  My favorites are the carrot cake, dirty chai and of course, the famous, uniporn and rainho flavor.  Baked & Wired is the perfect snack/coffee shop while you wander around the Georgetown area.

Colada Shop:  Colada Shop is a Cuban-inspired coffee shop/bakery/ cocktail bar located off 14th Street corridor.  Stop by for a coffee and an empanada or a quick drink before or after dinner (great mojitos!).

Slipstream:  Slip stream is perfect for a mid day coffee pick-me- up and pastry.  It is also great for a light (and instagrammable) brunch!

Ice Cream Jubilee:  I am an Ice Cream Jubilee frequenter, to say the least.  I love all their flavors and think the texture of their ice creams are unreal.  I love the Marion Berry, anything salted caramel (salted caramel or caramel popcorn) and their classics like, chocolate chocolate and cookies and cream cookie dough.

Where to shop:

Miss Pixies: Formally known as Miss Pixies Furnishings & Whatnot.  What a fun place!  They always have new items and treasures.  They have everything from big furniture items to small trinkets and unique finds.  I love to go hunting unique glassware and ceramics for succulents.

Urban Dwell: Urban Dwell is the perfect place to get a cute DC keepsake or funny political home item.

Kramerbooks: Kramerbooks is a DC classic.  It is a great bookstore that is perfect for browsing.

Salt & Sundry:  Salt & Sundry is a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing gift and home shop.  I don’t often buy things from here but it is always fun to browse.

Shop Made in DC:  This store is a great ode to local businesses and artists.  Everything in this store is unique.  It is a great place for trinkets and gifts.

The Outrage:  This place is “so DC”.  It is the perfect place to get a new protesting shirt or if you are into something a little more subtle, some ovary socks or an RBG pin!

What to do:

DuPont Farmers Market (Sunday Morning)

The Renwick Gallery

The Phillips Collection

Dumbarton Oaks (Museum & Gardens)

Hillwood Estates (Museum & Gardens)

United States Botanical Gardens

United States Botanical Gardens

Eastern Market

Union Market

Hanukkah Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts)

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Ingredients:

1 packet of dry active yeast

1 tbsp and 4-5 cups of flour

1 tbsp and 1/4 cup of white sugar

2 egg yolks

1 egg

1/2 cup of warm milk (microwave it for 30 seconds)

1/2 tsp orange zest

2 tbsp orange juice

1 tbsp brandy

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 tbsp room temperature butter; cut into chunks

Vegetable oil (for frying)

Berry jelly (of your choice) for stuffing

 

Dough:

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the yeast, 1 tbsp flour, 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp of warm water.  Whisk together until well incorporated.  Let stand for about 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture gets frothy.  Switch the attachment to the dough hook and add in the egg yolk, egg, brandy, orange zest, orange juice, salt, vanilla, milk, 2 cups of flour.  Mix well.  You should have a super stick consistency.  Add the butter, in small chunks, while mixing.  Don’t worry if the butter is still chunky, it will mix out eventually.  Add the remaining 2 (ish) cups of flour.  Add flour until the dough comes off the side of the bowl and hugs the dough hook.  It should be shiny and a bouncy consistency.

Either on a floured surface or in the bowl, knead the dough until it is completely smooth.  Butter the mixing bowl and put the dough ball back in the bowl, making sure to flip it over so both sides are covered in butter.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 1-3 hours.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll the dough into small balls (depends on how large you want your donuts).  Place on the baking tray, cover with a clean towel and let rise again.

 

Fry:

Pour about 4 inches of vegetable oil into a large shallow pot.  Heat to about 350F.  Slowly place about 4-5 dough balls into the hot oil. Fry for about 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side.  Place on a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain.

 

Stuff:

Once all of your donuts are fried and slightly cooled, poke a hole into the side of the donuts using a thin knife or (what I used) a metal straw.  Fill your frosting bag (or plastic bag with the tip cut off) with your jelly and squeeze into the hole.  Repeat for every donut.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar when you are done filling each of them.  Enjoy warm!

 

Eating DMV: Mike’s Crab House

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Summer in the Mid Atlantic is synonymous with crab season.  This summer, I was lucky enough to go for crabs a few times and at various locations in Maryland.  While Cantler’s Riverside Inn will always be my favorite, Mike’s Crab House was pretty incredible as well.

Mike’s is great because their menu has something for everyone (even if someone doesn’t want seafood or crabs!) and the view is unbeatable.  The service was friendly and attentive and the orange crush’s were delicious!  My favorite things from the menu were the crabs, corn on the cob and the hush puppies. My mother enjoyed the all-you-can-eat salad bar and peel and eat shrimp.

I think Mike’s would be a great place for a large group or private party, because they have a large deck and more room inside.  I would definitely go back to Mike’s if I happen to be driving through that area!