The best weekends include a combination of friends, Brian and food. Yesterday hit all the basics.
I woke up early to get a run in and then headed out to Virginia for my friend's baby shower. The women who threw the shower did a great job putting together cute Pinterest-y decorations and I am so excited to meet this baby in a few months!
After heading back home, Brian and I ran a few errands before accidentally falling asleep for a few hours (whoops!). I woke up starving and got on dinner ASAP.
I saved the bacon fat from our breakfast last weekend and sautéed some onions, garlic and swiss chard in that before tossing it with pasta and tomatoes.
The bacon fat added a little extra smokiness and flavor. Definitely a success and it came together super quickly.
Then we had a seriously wild night of drinking.
Just kidding. We played Trivial Pursuit and drank smoothies :)
Frozen strawberries, raspberries, pineapple and banana with almond milk for Brian.
Frozen bananas, peanut butter, cocoa powder and almond milk for me. Mine tasted like pudding. Except frozen. I need to make these more often!
While we stayed in on this Saturday night, we did end up having a spontaneous dinner date last week at a new DC restaurant… Range!
Range opened up a few months ago in an upscale NW DC neighborhood that happens to be an amazing shopping spot. On Thursday, Brian wanted to work a little late and I wanted to shop a little so we decided to do just that and meet up. Brian met me while I was finishing up and we decided to stop by Range and see if they could take any walk-ins.
This restaurant was booked solid before it even opened. Everyone was really excited that Top Chef star Bryan Voltaggio was bringing his next restaurant to the District. We couldn't get a table, but happily accepted a seat at the counter overlooking the kitchen.
Then we ordered a ton of food.
To start off, we ordered the entire bread basket.
Oh, goodness. I believe that this was intended to serve about six people. No worries though, we only left three pieces!
The cornbread was my favorite. It was on the sweeter side, but the bacon marmalade on the side provided a salty contrast that I couldn't get enough of. The rest of the bread basket was just as good- cheddar chive biscuits, ciabatta, focaccia. And, there were four spreads on the side of that including pepper jelly, goats milk butter and cream cheese with gooseberries.
Then came the roasted beet salad.
I have started ordering beets whenever I see them on the menu, so I consider myself to be kind of an expert, but I wasn't too excited about this dish. I think I'm more of a beet-citrus-combo kind of girl, and this one didn't have that contrast. Also, the goat cheese was whipped (like whipped cream which I despise) and while it looks like this is another picture that I ate half of before photographing- this was it! Kinda small, especially because we were sharing.
Luckily, our next item came out really quickly.
Tomato, mozzarella and basil pizza. The crust was really thin and we loved this. It was very simple and classic, but the wood fired grill made it a little more special.
Another star, Brussels sprouts!
They were caramelized to perfection. I wish had more room because we left a few of these guys behind! We also had a lamb shank that was on special, which Brian ate most of in exchange for more Brussels sprouts for me. It was good, but we didn't think it was significantly better than the ones I make at home.
We had a really nice dinner. It was particularly nice because it was unplanned and it's always fun to do something special on a weeknight. That said, this place was seriously hyped up and I think that while we enjoyed it, we would probably not come back here for a special meal.
Sitting at the counter was perfect, and we agreed that next time we'll come in and enjoy some wine, split a pizza and order a few veggie sides. If the other sides compare to the Brussels sprouts, I'll be a happy lady.
Overall, the restaurant has some growing pains to work out. Service was a little… weird. We only saw our actual waiter when the bill came- we had a manager and an assortment of other staff taking care of us the whole time. We waited a long time for our first course and after that we did end up feeling a little rushed.
Still, I'm already be looking forward to coming back for our casual wine/pizza/sides date :)