Month: June 2011

Let me get my camera… oh, wait…

Everybody has that one friend who can be counted on to bring their camera out with them. No matter where you go, they are bound to whip out the small little metallic box and snap a photo of you, or ask a complete stranger to take one of the group. You know who I’m talking about in your group of friends, don’t you? Well, in my group of friends, I’m that person. “Lauren, get your camera out” is a phrase I hear all too often. Well, guess what, friends?! My camera is broken!!! Cry all you want, but I’m the one who really should be crying. I didn’t break it or drop it, and it is being replaced (it is at the camera doctor being fixed as we speak. Luckily, I bought insurance for my baby after five previous camera catastrophes. Yep, five.). I’m not upset that I can’t take pictures during a night out with the girls or at a cool summer concert, because having an internship this summer has basically prevented me from doing all the above. I’m upset because I can’t visually share all of my culinary creations that have taken place within the last week! For the first few weeks of summer, I was living in a complete hell hole. The blinds didn’t work, the sun woke me up at the crack of dawn, the bathroom managed to heat up to about 90 degrees, and, oh yeah, I had no kitchen. Trader Joe’s prepared meals were my BFF. Not that I really mind them, I’m just thankful to get away from thousands of grams of salt per serving and being able to cook again! But pack to my point, I haven’t been able to do my food justice with a camera phone, and I am not too accepting of a mediocre photo, especially that of food. So yes, I have been cooking and baking and life is back to normal. Unfortunately, I cannot share it will all you readers (yes, I know there are thousands of you out there). But if you’re wondering what I’ve been filling my tummy with, check out these links- photos included- and maybe try one for yourself! I’ve been really quite pleased with all of the baked goods, and there will be plenty more to come throughout summer.  (Insert cutesy photo here… I cry)

The most ridiculous Kitchen Sink Cookies of all time

Chocolate crinkle cookies

Red velvet cake with cream cheese- mascarpone frosting (I made mini cupcakes. They were adorable)

Meatless Monday creamy lemon pasta with zucchini and tomatoes (I added broccoli)

Mixed berry and rhubarb jam

I also had this amazing jar of Tikka Masala sauce that I was using with cauliflower, zucchini, chicken and brown basmati rice but it fell out of my fridge and shattered and I cried. Not really. I’m just being dramatic (if you couldn’t tell).

Nom nom nom nom nom

Sigh. Only four more weeks to go!

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Pi Truck: A Love Story

My food truck review continues with the truck that has become the dearest to my heart… and my stomach: Pi Truck. At first glance, this four-wheeled green monster looks a little dorky; the truck wears the Pi symbol proudly on all four sides. But when you take a closer look, you’ll see that beneath the mathematic stamp lays a beautiful interpretation of deep. dish. pizza. Mmmmm…

The battle between Chicago-style deep dish and New York-style thin crust has been ongoing since before I can remember. People tend to get rather snobby when it comes to taking ownership and pride in one’s hometown culinary name tag. Do you go deep dish and eat your slice with a fork and a knife? Or do you go thin crust, fold the slice in half, and shove it into your mouth like a hot dog? Personally, I like to combine the two methods by using a fork and a knife on thin crust pizza; I consider myself to be a pizza snob and tend to over-enjoy this simple cheesy delight as often as I can.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever had deep dish pizza before I experienced Pi Truck, but boy, did it turn me into a believer. The food truck craze has slowly made its way to the GW campus and I will be the first to tell you how lucky we are to have it. First you should probably know some background information on my Thursday before I so luckily encountered the truck of Pi.

Like I mentioned earlier, Thursdays are the hot days for food trucks to roll on over to Foggy Bottom. I had finished class for the day and made plans with my friend, Rachael, to get lunch from Red Hook Lobster Truck. I brought the lobster and shrimp rolls back to my apartment for the two of us to share, and lunch was amazing (more to come on Red Hook, this is about Pi Truck remember!). As we sat contemplating which food truck we would next explore, we checked Food Truck Fiesta for other trucks around campus. “Pi Truck’s at GW still,” Rachael exclaimed. “Wanna get dinner?” I asked. It was a done deal. We left my apartment in a rush with the determination to catch the pizza mobile before it left for the weekend (the trucks tend to stay until 2 pm and it was already 3:30). As we walked towards the designated location, we saw an empty space. This didn’t look good. Where could it be?

Then, out of no where, like a peak from heaven above a cloudy sky, the Pi Truck rolled past us and continued down 22nd street. I began to run. I managed to catch up with the truck as it stopped to look for a parking spot outside of our library. I frantically approached the window and the driver rolled it down. I asked how much longer they would be around and the friendly man said to wait until they parked and that I would be the first in line for a hot, gooey, deep dish pizza pie. Is your mouth watering yet? Because mine is.

Rachael caught up to me and managed to take a picture of my epic attempt to flag down a food truck (see left, Hi Cap Mac!). We debated for a while over which pie to get- they all seemed so unbelievably tasty! We went with the favorite of the driver- the Western Addition- and shared a small piece before returning to my apartment and refrigerating it for dinner. The Western Addition contains (along with the usual mozzarella and homemade tomato sauce) spinach, creamy feta and ricotta cheeses, hearty mushrooms, onions and garlic, all enclosed by the best cornmeal crust I have ever tasted. This crust is just meant for deep dish pizza. It is thick yet delicate, and chewy with just the right crunch. It hugs, rather than overpowers the fillings, like the perfect spoon to sop up the flavors of tomato, cheese and veggies. I couldn’t wait to finish this pie for dinner.

About four hours, $12 and six slices of sweet, cheesy, crunchy goodness later, Rachael and I were happy campers. No, the $12 was not a typo- we did, in fact, get an entire deep dish pizza pie for twelve dollars. No tax, no tip, no delivery charge- for one of the best pizzas I have ever sunk my teeth into. Since the moment I took my last bite I have been anxious to return to my beloved truck of Pi. I am determined to become a loyal customer and maybe have a pie named after me one day. Until then, one can only dream. I love you, Pi Truck!!

¡Bienvenidos a Sabor’a Street!

As my love of food trucks continues to blossom, I want to share with you how Sabor’a Street has contributed to my relationship with the four-wheeled miracle kitchens, my taste buds, and the streets of D.C.

It was a sunny Thursday in the district and I was waiting for my food truck partner in crime, Rachael, to get out of class. Sabor’a street had tweeted about how the line for lunch was down the block and that they weren’t going to be around for much longer. Panicked, I grabbed my coat and began to power walk towards their designated location, telling Rachael that I’d get in line so we didn’t risk the items selling out by the time she was done with class. By the time I reached the truck, the line had calmed down but people were anxiously awaiting their Latin-inspired lunches. I approached the woman working the cash register and introduced myself as my twitter handle, LOLKatz41, as I had tweeted the week before begging for the truck to grace the GW campus with its presence. Then I began to look over the menu.

While seemingly small, the Sabor’a Street menu is chock full of flavor, variety and excitement. The two options are the angus beef hamburger and the Arepas- “cornmeal cakes with choice of pulled beef brisket, pulled chicken or chili-glazed tofu.” The woman in the truck recommended me the chicken arepas, as she said they were her favorite. All of the dishes are served with fried yuccas and tostones, and a decadent, creamy and refreshing lime aioli and salsa verde.

Rachael and I have a ritual when we eat from food trucks of each getting something different and sharing. When she finally arrived after what seemed like hours, I told her I knew exactly what we were going to get- chicken arepas, a burger and hot, sugary, crunchy fried churros with home made dulce de leche dipping sauce.

As I approached the woman to take my order, she broke news so terrible you’d think I was going to cry. They were out. of. churros. How could such a tragedy occur?! “Tweet at us and we’ll save you an order next time,” the woman replied. My mouth was already watering for the fried cinnamon sugar coated dough. How was I supposed to wait for next time?!?!

Despite our tragic dessert mishap, lunch was spectacular. The minute I bit into the chicken arepas I began to “ooh” and “ahh” in amazement. The crispy cornmeal cake held the delicate flavors of lime and cilantro and spicy chicken so well. It was a fiesta in my mouth. The chicken was tender and juicy and the slaw on top was crisp and refreshing. The burger was equally as flavorful, had a meaty texture and spicy seasoning. The lime aioli was the perfect compliment to both, and the perfect dipping sauce for the well-seasoned, well-fried yuccas and plantains.

As our lunch came to an end, I was beyond satisfied, but still craved something sweet, per usual. Luckily, Cap Mac was closing up and offered Rachael and me our own caramelized banana Nutella rice puddings… for free! My sweet tooth was satisfied sans churros.

The story continues the following week when Sabor’a Street tweeted about being a few blocks away from campus. I had been in an ongoing twitter conversation with them all day and was just dying to make my way for the long awaited churros. I gave myself a nice studying break and power walked six blocks to the truck. As I approached and re-introduced myself, the man working in the “kitchen” exclaimed, “I have to get a record of this.” Apparently, my longing for churros was known between all of the workers and tweeters. I was so thrilled to finally be getting my churro fix I didn’t care who recorded me doing what. The owners were gracious enough to give me the churros- free of charge- as they knew how big of a fan I was, and how much I enjoy promoting them on Twitter. As promised, I let the chef film me taking my first bite. I dipped the piping hot churro (they are small, about the size of your thumb, so eating more than one is acceptable) into the creamy, caramely dulce de leche sauce and sunk my teeth into it. I was in cinnamon sugar heaven. Crunchy on the outside but cakey and chewy on the inside; generously coated in the perfect ratio of cinnamon to sugar; and the dulce de leche was the icing on the cake (no pun intended?). Just like the refreshing lime aioli, the dulce sauce dressed the churro so beautifully without overpowering it. I couldn’t wait to get the rest of the churros back to the library to share with Rachael (you know, the kind of sharing where its one for me, one for her; two for me, one for her? Just kidding…)

So now that you have read my short story on my amazing experience with Sabor’a Street, I hope all you D.C. locals will venture over to wherever Sabor’a Street may be. Just writing this entry was difficult to do without my mouth watering (seriously, I had to stop a few times because I got so hungry thinking about the food), and I am anxiously awaiting the truck’s next appearance at GW. Although, as proven, I am willing to travel for these delectable Latin delicacies- willing to travel all the way to Sabor’a Street, America, wherever that may be!