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thelittlemiller's Profile

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First Trip to DC

There are lots of great restaurants in the District and that Washingtonian list has a ton of great options. Like everyone else has said, it depends what you're looking for. For ethnic food or unique-to-D.C. eats you may have to venture of the beaten path, but it's worth it if that's what you're looking for. I love Pho 75 in Arlington. Wander around the Mt. Pleasant area near Columbia Heights for Latin American. There's great options for Ethopian, as well, as mentioned.

I usually take friends visiting DC on a mini food tour that includes Ben's Chili Bowl on U street, Baked and Wired in Georgetown, and Eastern Market. Ben's a really cool landmark plus I think they probably the serve up the most "local" food -- the halfsmoke with chili is great. Baked and Wired is a fun take on the cupcake craze that's swept through D.C. and has more interesting (and tastier) desserts than Georgetown Cupcake IMO (plus shorter lines) and really good coffee. Eastern Market is a great place to wander around on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Checkout the outdoor market vendors and in the back there are usually food trucks/vendors serving lunch or snacks.

Ramen best bet?

+1 for Daikaya. Go early or put your name down and go up to the bar/walk around Chinatown (not that there's much to see...). Plenty of add ons. Sapporo on draft.

Family Dinner near white house

Down the block from the White House is Old Ebbitt Grill. I've had a lot of luck with bigger family dinners there and it's in your price range. I've always felt it's got that very classic, old-school, all-American D.C. feel that would be cool for District first timers.

Edit: Ah, ipsedixit beat me! Darn slow internet. Well, I second Old Ebbitt!

New Yorker headed to Foggy Bottom

I live around the block from District Commons. I've never had a bad experience there, and like VaPaula said, it's reliably good but not particularly "wowing," if you know what I mean. I definitely prefer it to Founding Farmers. The service and food are much more consistant at District Commons. I will never understand the hype surrounding FF.

Hound-Family Graduation Weekend: Suggestions Needed!

Hi there!

So I'm graduating college in May and my family will be coming down for the weekend, meaning meals of varying size/time/purpose will be eaten. Planning must commence now because two major universities in D.C. have graduation that weekend -- meaning thousands of family members will be heading to the District (locals, beware!) -- and reservations will be filling up soon.

Right now the agenda includes Friday dinner for 5, Saturday brunch/lunch for 5, Saturday dinner for 9-10 and Sunday brunch/lunch for 12-15.

Cost isn't really an issue and I've taken my parents to Oyamel, Jaleo, Blue Duck Tavern, Founding Farmers, Firefly, District Commons, and Old Ebbitt (or, well, they've taken me!) in the past. The Sunday lunch includes a few children so I mostly need some help thinking of a place that can accommodate a large group (including kids) or has a smallish private room.

The Oval Room and Equinox have been on my to-try-when-the-parents-are-in-town list, so those are possibilities for the smaller meals. But suggestions for those are welcome too! We're an adventurous-eating bunch. Everyone will be staying in the downtown/Foggy Bottom area, for neighborhood context, though traveling for good eats is not a problem.

I've done research on the board archives but would love to supplement with suggestions and any newer places I wouldn't have come across yet.

Thanks in advance!

Can you recommend a brand of Pumpkin butter?

I received some Stonewall Kitchen Maple Pumpkin Butter as a gift and it was good - not nearly as sweet as I would have expected, with a fair amount of spice to it.

In the fall I regularly buy Clearbrook Farms' pumpkin butter (available at my Whole Foods, not sure if it's regional). It's often on sale at my WF, but quite good, IMO. It's got a nice, pure, pumpkin-y flavor.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of TJ's pumpkin butter. A bit sweet for me. I do, however, like their Cranberry Apple Butter and Fig Butter.


Is Ben's Chili Bowl worth a visit?

It's kind of a running joke among my friends that though we've been living in DC for 3.5 years, we've never seen Ben's in daylight. Only after alcohol-sodden evenings on U St. It's a great place to end a night, IMO (and from what I can remember). The late-night crowd is a lot of fun.


One of my favorite comfort food dishes is kraut pletzlach - sauteed shredded cabbage and onions, tossed with egg or bow tie noodles.

Also, health salad is a great way to use up cabbage. Similar to cole slaw, but lighter because it doesn't use mayo. I like the 2nd Avenue Deli recipe.

Dec 19, 2012
thelittlemiller in Home Cooking

Unofficial Chowhounder survey: Who are you?

I'm a whole 21 years old. But I've been told I have an old soul.

Been reading for maybe a year and half. Joined officially about six months ago.

Washington, D.C.
Grew up in New York City and will probably return after college.
Lived in Florence, Italy for six months.

Senior in college, majoring in English/Creative Writing and journalism. I'd love to combine my love of food and journalism and work at a food magazine.

I'm fourth/fifth generation American on either side of the family, so, very American at this point. Mom's family is Jewish (Eastern European, mostly Austrian, Latvian, Hungarian) and Dad's family is Western European (Scottish/English). My mom's family has a lot of traditions stemming from Eastern European/Jewish holiday cuisine that have a nice dose of 1930s/40s/50s America infused into them. I also consider myself culturally "a New Yorker", with an unwavering love of bagels, pizza, sky-high deli sandwiches, dirty water hot dog, diner food and black coffee.

Among my group of young twenty-something college kid friends, I'm one of the few who can cook things that don't come out of a box, if you know what I mean... That means I get lots of questions about recipes, cookbooks, how to make xyz. I read scores of food blogs so I get asked for recommendations for those as well. I also get a lot of "Can you bring those [cookies/brownies/bars/etc] to work this weekend?" type requests.

I lived in Florence, Italy last year for six months with an incredible host mother who was an INSANE cook. I got fed a three course meal every night - and was force fed seconds. I love the simplicity and respectfulness of Italian food and food culture, especially in Tuscany.

Dec 19, 2012
thelittlemiller in Site Talk

What are you baking these days? December 2012 [OLD]

Pumpkin Molasses Cheesecake?!? That sound delicious. Any particular recipe you like, Emme?

Dec 19, 2012
thelittlemiller in Home Cooking

What's for dinner #177 - Advent Edition [OLD]

Thanks guys! I pretty much live in the kitchen when I'm home from school and I love it!

The salmon and sprouts are two of my favorites! Glaze is so easy, just apricot preserves, grated ginger, a bit of soy sauce and black pepper. Can't wait to eat leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Dec 18, 2012
thelittlemiller in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? December 2012 [OLD]

Murbteig cookies are sort of a family legend. My great-grandmother used to make them regularly and send them out to her many grandchildren, and I assume her mother made them as well. As resident family baker, this task has been passed on to me.

Technically murbteig is an Austrian short dough (Viennese, specifically), that is used in a variety of Austrian pastries, including tarts, cakes, cookies, etc. When I started making my great-grandma's cookies I became interested in their origin and did some research. Traditionally the short dough is made with just sugar, butter, flour, egg and salt. My great-grandma's dough recipe though is quite different - with baking powder, no salt, Crisco and a bit of orange juice. I have no clue why she (or my great-great grandmother, who would have brought the recipe over from Austria) would have subbed baking powder for salt. Crisco was used to make them parve.

In this case, the murbtieg dough is used in a rolled cookie (similar to a rugelach) that I can only imagine was invented by my great-grandmother because I've never seen or heard of anything like it. Basically you roll out the doll, cut in half, layer each half with pineapple preserves (which is so random! I have no idea where my great-grandma was getting pineapple preserves in Scranton, PA in the 1930's/40's/50's), golden raisins and chopped walnuts. Then each half is rolled into a strudel-like pastry, baked, and sliced once baked so that you get, ultimately, these little rolled pastries.

For a really long time we had no idea why they were called murbteig. I was doing some research though and stumbled upon the name and it all made sense!

I'll attach a picture of the last batch I made! And thanks for the molasses ideas. Indian pudding sounds intriguing. And I definitely might make some muffins!

Dec 18, 2012
thelittlemiller in Home Cooking

How do you top your french fries?

Seriously! I hoard those little tubs of deliciousness.

What's for dinner #177 - Advent Edition [OLD]

I just returned home from college for winter break. Dad's on a business trip so I made dinner for Mom and me. I love being home because I get to go food shopping at the fancy specialty markets I'm way too broke for at school :)

We were hungry so started with some leftover pea soup from last night with hazelnut brioche rolls that I got at the market. I made apricot-ginger glazed salmon fillets, sides were roasted Brussels sprouts (olive oil, s&p) and baked sweet potato. Simple but really tasty!

Dec 18, 2012
thelittlemiller in Home Cooking

How do you top your french fries?

Chick Fil A waffle fries + the holy trinity of dipping sauces (Honey Mustard, Polynesian, Chik Fil A sauce) = one of life's great simple pleasures

What are you baking these days? December 2012 [OLD]

Made my first ever batch of ginger molasses cookies. They've never been a tradition in my family but my sister requested them so I used the recipe from a local restaurant/bakery and they turned out nicely. Could have been a bit chewier... perhaps I overbaked them just slightly.

Next up is a double batch of great-grandma's murbteig cookies. I'm also planning on making some rice pudding this week.

I have a ton of molasses left over from the ginger cookies. I know it keeps for a while, but any recipe recommendations to use it up are welcomed!

Dec 18, 2012
thelittlemiller in Home Cooking

How do you top your french fries?

I love a good well-seasoned curly fry. Also, fries sprinked with Old Bay. Yum.

For regular French fries, a sprinkling of salt is nice. Otherwise, I'm a dipper. I like to have an assortment of dippings, if possible. Ketchup mixed with hot sauce (Sriracha, preferably) or curry powder is my favorite. Honey mustard, spicy mustard, chipotle mayo, ranch dressing, BBQ sauce - all fit the bill.

However, when at Ben's Chili Bowl in D.C., chili cheese fries are a must. Particularly if it's 2 a.m.

Green Eggs & Ham Bris

Mazel Tov! What a cute idea. Love the idea of a more whimsical bris menu. Memorable and fun! I went to a Dr. Seuss-themed baby shower last year. Most of the dishes were standard fare with names inspired by the books. If I remember correctly there was "Grinch Guacamole", "Hop on Pop(corn)", "Greens, Eggs & Ham benedict", "Cat & the Hat cupcakes", "Pink Ink Yink lemonade".

Maybe along the lines of a Dr. Seuss theme you could incorporate other foods inspired by children's literature and place the corresponding book near the dish? The book 'If You Give a Moose a Muffin" immediately comes to mind. Maybe some "moose muffins"? Likewise, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie".

These are less breakfasty but could work with some creative bent:
-"Chicken Soup with Rice" by Maurice Sendak. Not sure how plausible soup is, but the book's a classic!
-A "Strega Nona" inspired pasta dish
-Put a copy of "Very Hungry Caterpillar" near assorted fruits/veggies/meats

Hope that helps!

Dec 17, 2012
thelittlemiller in Kosher

Great Food Shopping on DC Metro?

Capital South is on the blue/orange line. If you're going to be visiting the monuments/Smithsonians, you can take the blue/orange to the Smithsonian stop, then do some walking and make your way to Foggy Bottom. There's a Whole Foods across the street from the Foggy Bottom Metro station (which is also on the blue/orange line) plus a Trader Joe's a few blocks from the Metro stop as well. Neither are ethnic or particularly unique, but you can do some good shopping and hop back on the blue/orange line back to Capital South.

There are a few Metro-accesible farmer's markets you might want to visit. Dupont Circle (off the red line) has one on Sunday mornings. Eastern Market has lots of different shopping options. There's an indoor market with a bunch of different vendors that I believe is open all week, and the outdoor farmer's market is open weekends and has tons of shopping.

You also might want to check out Union Market (off the red line, NoMa-Galludet stop), which opened recently. It hosts a bunch of local vendors that are worth sampling. It's open most days, but check their website for hours.

What are you baking these days? December 2012 [OLD]

A photo of the brownie cookies:

Dec 13, 2012
thelittlemiller in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? December 2012 [OLD]

Last week I made sugar cookies for a holiday party. Used the Chow recipe and decorated with royal icing and sprinkles. They turned out really well and were eaten up!

Over the weekend I made marshmallow dreidels for Hannukah with my little cousins. Small pretzel stick + marshmallow + Hershey's kiss dipped in chocolate and then left in the fridge to firm up for an hour or so. Really fun and great activity with kids.

Today I made a batch of chocolate-dipped brownie cookies while procrastinating writing final papers. They weren't the simplest to make, but they turned out great! Very chocolately and fudgy and addicting.

On my to-bake list this weekend are a double batch of my great-grandma's murbteig rugelach (to send out to the fam), cranberry or gingerbread muffins and raspberry thumbprints.

Dec 13, 2012
thelittlemiller in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - December 2012 [OLD]

Big Yay for these from me as well. Nice balance of chocolate and peppermint on a cute little waffle disk. Perfect little treat and, like you said, you don't feel bad if you eat two or three or five or ten... (same can't be said about candy cane Joe Joes!)

Dec 13, 2012
thelittlemiller in Chains

Hipster New Years

"It should be stoner food that a hipster thinks is elevated because of fancy ingredients, but really the hipster has been smoking too much weed."


I am in college and therefore everyone is pretty much a hipster. Anything one might desire to eat after partaking in drug-related activities is doctored up with fancy/foreign/obscure ingredients. Mac and cheese is definitely a big one. Grilled cheese with eight different ingredients. Hot dogs topped with obscure ingredients (a la Asia Dog, in NYC). Internationally inspired burritos (Thai-style with peanut sauce, Korean style with kimchi, mediterranean with hummus and feta). Pizza, topped with seasonal ingredients and obscure cheeses. Ice cream with favorite childhood cereals mixed in (namely, Lucky Charms, Reese's Puffs or Cinnamon Toast Crunch). Oreos, with a layer of peanut butter/hot sauce/nutella/cookie butter/etc. added in. Tater tot nachos. Sandwich that uses pancakes or waffles instead of bread.

Also, everyone I know has a giant bottle of Sriracha in their kitchen. I'm not sure when it became "the only condiment worth using". But it seems like that's how it is regarded in my circle...

Food Jokes

What do you call a cow with three legs?... lean beef!

What do you call a cow with no legs?..... ground beef!

What do you call a cow that just had a baby?.... decalfinated!

(My dad loves cow jokes... heard these nonstop as a kid)

Poll: Do you refrigerate eggs?

Yep. USA.

I never even knew it was safe to leave them out until I was living in Italy last year and my host family kept them on the counter. I also do not use eggs often (really I only use them for baking) and also I too have limited counter space. Also I'd be nervous my cats would jump onto the counter and knock them off somehow!

Fast, inexpensive, simple, healthy lunch on the go

I do a version of this for lunch quite often. I buy the big tubs of Fage at Costco and scoop some into tupperware to take to work. For a sweet version, I add some combination of jam, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, chopped fruit, nuts, granola. Sometimes I'll put the granola in a baggie or small container so it doesn't get soggy. For a savory version I'll do cucumber, mint, salt & pepper, or mix in jalapeƱo jelly and hot sauce and make a dip for pita chips/pretzels. It's a good way to break up the sandwich monotony.

Dec 05, 2012
thelittlemiller in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? November 2012, part deux [OLD]

I've done so much baking this week because I'm currently in the thick of Thanksgiving potluck season (I'm a young twentysomething with lots of young twentysomething friends who kill for an opportunity for lots of free food and alcohol... hence, potlucks).

I brought pumpkin pie squares (the Joy the Baker recipe) to a potluck Thursday night. Yesterday evening I made torta di mele to bring to a brunch this morning with friends of mine who I studied abroad in Italy with. And tonight my roommates and I hosted a potluck for which I baked individual pumpkin pies (made in a muffin tin). It was my first time messing with mini pies but it was really successful! They got all eaten up! I used Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" flaky pie crust and pumpkin pie filling recipes.

Haven't decided what I'm baking for real Thanksgiving yet. I'm thinking either a pecan pie or a cheesecake. I also promised my boyfriend I'd bake us some scones or muffins for the train ride to my parents' house. Must decide what to make for that... I'm a bit maxed out on pumpkin things, so any suggestions for non-gourdy baked goods are welcomed!

Nov 17, 2012
thelittlemiller in Home Cooking

quirky personal home food combinations....

My roommates make fun of me because often (perhaps too often) for dinner I'll eat crackers + some kind of dip/spread for dinner. Crackers + peanut butter + jelly, crackers + cream cheese + tapenade , crackers and cheese, crackers and hummus, crackers and apple butter. The combinations are endless. At the moment my favorite is Trader Joe's pumpkin cream cheese.

I'm so weird.

What's new in DC?

Farmers Fishers Bakers (of the Founding Farmers fam) opened today on the Georgetown waterfront. It's the reworked Farmers and Fishers. I had a test-run brunch there last weekend and enjoyed it a lot. The menu is very similar to Founding Farmers, but with more seafood and a sushi bar.

They're probably still working out some kinks, as it will have only been open a few weeks by Thanksgiving, but it's worth a try if you're into that type of food!

Do you like to have nutrition info AVAILABLE

Completely agree with everything said here. I'm a petite person with a pretty slow metabolism and a health issue that requires me to stay in certain weight range, therefore I eat a pretty restricted calorie diet. I don't count every single calorie I eat but I like to know what general range I'm in. I always check calories when I eat at chains. I'd rather know than not know so I can budget my calories accordingly.

The salad example is perfect - a local "healthy" salad chain I frequent has salads that range from 250-700+ calories. I can eat any of them and feel pretty much the same amount of fullness, as they're generally the same size with the same number of toppings. If they didn't post nutritional info online how would I know that their "low fat Caesar" is an insane calorie bomb and not really low fat at all?

I don't really see how it can harm anyone to have nutritional available to those who want it. In NYC, where I live, all franchises and chains are required to post calories. I remember being mindblown by how caloric some of the pastries and treats at Starbucks were. I think for people who need to lose weight (and, let's face it, in the US that's a lot of people) calorie and nutritional information can offer both a wake up call and helpful guidance. Many people can't sense fullness. Many don't know what foods, by nature, are better for you than others. There's a difference between consciousness and obsession, but if we can encourage consciousness toward eating healthfully in any way possible, we should.