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And now for something completely different! December 23, 2013

Posted by bettyjoan in Uncategorized.
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So, it’s nearing the end of 2013, so that means it’s time for me to think about all of the things I accomplished over the past year (and to set new goals for 2014 – that part is way harder).  Since this blog is called “The Hungry Triathlete,” clearly I need to do some kind of training/racing-related recap – and I will – but I figured I’d also use this space to round up some end-of-year thoughts as they relate to other areas of my life.  After all, I think of this website as having a more general wellness focus anyway.

For today, I’ll hone in on the “Hungry” part of the name and revel in my best food experiences of 2013…

* Lazy Bear, San Francisco, CA – Since I didn’t do much traveling this year, our trip to California (to visit my sister and to run a half-marathon) was the only time we really got to splurge on a restaurant outside of our usual radius.  To be fair, we didn’t really splurge financially (the underground restaurant is my brother-in-law’s, and we were being treated), but from a culinary standpoint, this meal took the cake by a long shot.  Every course was thoughtful, whimsical, creative, beautiful to look at, and DELICIOUS.  And the food just kept coming, and coming, and coming…I don’t know if I have ever felt so full.  The experience itself was super fun as well, since it is communal dining with strangers who also love food.

* Fiola, Washington, DC – In addition to frequently visiting the bar at Fiola, we actually had a sit-down meal in the dining room when my parents were visiting over the summer.  It was some of the best service I have ever received – precise and professional, but not pretentious.  Food was fantastic.  The ahi tuna carpaccio was divine, as always (it is maybe my favorite dish at Fiola) – so beautifully presented and full of flavor.  Pastas were decadent.  The veal chop, while pricey, was a show-stopper – I mean, the presentation, the flavors, the sheer AMOUNT of food, it was all just astounding.  And who can pass up the bomboloni for dessert (hint: not me)???

* DGS Delicatessen, Washington, DC – Any restaurant whose tagline is “Modern Jewish Cookery” was bound to make my list.  One of my favorite dishes in the DC area is their Benedictburg, which is poached eggs over latkes with house-smoked salmon and sumac hollandaise.  So stupid good.  Their matzoh ball soup is legit as well.

* Boqueria, Washington, DC – I was very skeptical about a Spanish restaurant serving all-you-can-eat (and drink) brunch, but I was pleasantly surprised – the tapas are actually pretty darn authentic, AND tasty!  I dream about their pan con tomate and churros.  For $39 bucks, it is a great cure for what ails ya.

* The Big Board, Washington, DC – The Big Board is our Cheers.  When we roll up, the beers are already poured for us and the amazing staff are directing us to the specials they think we’ll like.  We happened upon it by chance, as a stop on a “beer crawl” earlier in the year, but it has become our go-to hangout (they even helped us host a fundraiser during happy hour).  In addition to treating us like rock stars, they have some AMAZING burgers and fries.  We’re there at least once a week, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon – waistline be damned!

* Tortas Frontera, Chicago-O’Hare Airport – Yes, I know, it is ridiculous that food from an airport is making my “best of” list.  But if you are ever laid over in Chicago, this is the place to go.  The milanesa sandwich, which is a crispy-crunchy chicken breast, pickled jalapeños, Chihuahua cheese, cilantro crema, and avocado, all pressed between a wide, flat bolillo roll, was made-to-order (you have to be prepared to wait 15-20 minutes) and delicious.  I also enjoyed the raspberry-prickly pear agua fresca.  My colleagues were definitely jealous!

I also had some home-cooking successes this year (most notably, re-learning how to cook in an apartment sized kitchen with an electric range), but probably my favorite food memory of 2013 is from when we were in Sonoma with some of our dear friends (we all rented a big house and ran the half-marathon together).  The weather was gorgeous, so we decided to cook instead of going to a restaurant.  I made a sweet pea and scallop risotto with fresh corn, along with a fresh green salad, and we ate al fresco with candles and starlight.  It was so much fun, and it reminded me how much sharing a meal with those you love can nourish your body AND your soul.

As far as goals for 2014, I want to continue to learn how to incorporate more (and more varied) produce into my cooking.  We joined a CSA in November, and that has gotten me off to a great start so far.

What about y’all?  Did everyone eat well in 2013, and what are you craving in 2014?

Okay, now I really am hungry…

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