IN THE KITCHEN: COLANDERS

A colander is defined as:

“a perforated bowl used to strain off liquid from food, especially after cooking.”
or, more specifically:

“a perforated bowl, made of stainless steel, aluminum, or plastic, that is used to drain the liquid from pasta, vegetables, salad greens, and other foods.”

I had been vaguely looking for a new colander. My old one, down below, seemed well…dated. The feet were scratching my white corian sink and it just seemed what?…clunky I guess is the best word.

Enter this gem from Cuisinart found at HomeGoods last week.
I love it. Lots of holes so the liquid really DOES drain. No scratching from the feet on my sink. It sits low. Nice, sturdy handles. Did I mention how it really drains well?

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These gorgeous gems I had found at a tag sale and, while they look beautiful, they DO NOT drain well as there are simply not enough holes either on the sides or the bottom.

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Here’s my old colander that I’ve had for at least twenty five years!

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To help you in your search for a new colander (you know you need one!) here are some suggestions:

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Links to sources are below, beginning with top left and going clockwise:

1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.

I would caution anyone to beware of bright, fun, colorful colanders. As in so many things, it can often be the simpler, less complicated and glitzy models that work the best. So take your time and look around. As you probably know, you can spend a lot of money ($85.00 for the copper) or a little money ($15.00 for the simple, colorful #6.) You can find some more ideas on my
Pinterest board: In The Kitchen. If you do go over there you can also see a sneak preview of some ideas I’m gathering for my kitchen! Yes, time to do some minor updates. Well, let’s hope they remain minor. But as you all know it is SO easy to do more than originally planned ….. We shall see.

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TRAVEL: LETS GO TO WASHINGTON, D.C.: PART 2

This post is an update to the one you read just a few days ago. I had several other places I had wanted to show you but needed to gather the images.

#1. Meridian Hill Park

This is a National Park Service property up in the Columbia Heights section of the District.The park construction was started in 1914 and finished in 1936. Take a look at their site: it has the entire history and lots of wonderful historic photographs. I had never heard of it! But my daughter lives nearby so we took a walk up there on what was, for Washington in July, an unusually pleasant, clear and low humidity day. I only took a few photos but here they are:

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This is the largest “cascading” water flow in a park in this country. And it was just beautiful.

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Next on my update list for you:

#2. Union Market

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Union Market, located in the NE section of the city, opened in 1931 selling all kinds of produce, meat, vegetables etc. to both the public and wholesalers. As times changed, so did the market which came upon hard times by the 60′s. It has now been totally modernized (gentrified?) and there are plans to expand it greatly.
But oh the food! There is everything you could possibly want from fish and chips with an Australian twist to gourmet wines to a huge selection of cheese to the really fun home accessories store, Salt & Sundry.

I recommend a visit to this market!

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#3. Point Chaud Crêpes

This small bistro/restaurant started up near U Street and just recently moved down 14th to L Street. So it was just two blocks from The Washington Plaza at Thomas Circle…very convenient for your next stay there.

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I didn’t have a chance to take many pictures as it was so crowded on a Saturday morning.

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Sweet or savory: they have them all!

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I had a banana and raspberry (fresh!) with ricotta.

 

And now, back to the original post:

I showed you a glimpse of our nation’s capitol last December in this post.
One of the several highlights of that visit had been our stay at

The Washington Plaza Hotel

This is a classy hotel!
It’s not a huge tourist hotel and it’s not a small ultra chic trendy hotel. No, it’s a mid-century (built in 1962) classic destination. While the rooms are not huge, they are more than adequate. Three of the nine floors have balcony rooms facing the front. The restaurant is surprisingly good both the food and the service. If and when you go, be sure to have one of their made-on-the-premises Danish pastries for breakfast. To die for!
The shower was fabulous. And the pool….we had been there in the winter so this was the first time to sit out by the pool, and it did not disappoint.
Moreover, the entire hotel from hallways to bathroom to balcony is kept immaculately clean. I really appreciate this touch.

As I mentioned in a previous post on Charleston, you know some of the things I value in a hotel. Fresh air and good lighting in the bathroom are just two of the “amenities” that can make or break a property for me. This time we reserved a room with a balcony and were upgraded to a deluxe king room by the Director of Sales and Marketing, Chris Finney. Chris and I spoke a few days before we arrived and she was more than helpful in getting all the details just right. Thank you Chris!

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Clockwise from top left: the lobby, pool in the morning, our bed, tea in the afternoon, our balcony, plants in the lobby, and a view of the hotel front from our balcony.

 

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I would be remiss to not show you the Mango Cheesecake! We devoured this two nights running upon our late return each evening. Fabulous indeed.

 

We went to see the glorious fireworks on the National Mall. I’m not one for huge crowds and was hesitant to do this….but, I have to tell you, it is one remarkable and unique and truly wonderful experience. If you ever have the chance to go, DO IT!

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And last, but certainly not least, is a “family portrait” taken on our last evening. What could be nicer than a roof top cookout with clear skies and good food.

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I’m back in town and will be posting on a more regular schedule now!

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IT’S LOCAL: LoMoMarket

LoMoMarket
What in the world is it?

It’s many things.

It’s a truck that arrives at scheduled stops around the Triangle (that’s Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) and sells locally grown and produced goods to hungry, and savvy, customers.

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It’s a unique concept whose mission is
“to expand the market for local foods by making it easier for farmers and local food producers to connect with local food lovers. This mission plays a big role in our business,” said Guenevere Abernathy, founder and CEO of LoMoMarket.

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From the LoMo site

 

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It’s a fun, new way to shop local and to find the very best in locally produced goods.

Look at the LoMo Market site and see all the stops in the Triangle area. The truck used to stop in my village but there just was not enough business as we also have a weekly Farmer’s Market that has expanded every year and is very successful. The nearest stop to us is Briar Chapel where you will find the truck on  Saturday  afternoons.

One thing in particular I love about their website is this little row of icons:

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You can see just what is available on any given day in any “department”.
Again, very clever: the concept and the graphics.

All their graphics are great. The staff is very helpful. They accept credit cards (!!)  They DO tend to sell out of some items if you wait until the last half hour of a stop. They very cleverly restock for each stop in a day, so there is always a fresh supply at each stop.

I bought pink snapper last Saturday and it was delicious and fresh.
Try it….you will like it!

If you’re wondering what Lo and Mo stand for, it’s “local” and “mobile”. Clever!

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LETS GO TO THE MOVIES: “CHEF”

We went to see “Chef.”
Jon Favreau was wonderful. It took me a while to place Oliver Platt and where I had seen him (West Wing!). The color and movement in the film was what I liked: lots of action but a real “people” story to go with it.

It was a last minute decision, as we/I don’t go to the movies very often, as in perhaps twice a year. I don’t like violence or rather, I simply will not watch violence so that eliminates probably 80% of the films out there. I also don’t like animation, sci-fi, or just the totally ridiculous, contrived, “noisy” movies that are on the screen.  No, give me a romance, a life story, some history or almost always something French, and I am happy. If you’re wondering what I DO like…well, how about “The Hotel Marigold”, or “Monuments Men” or “The Kings Speech.” To me, those are movies worth seeing for the story, setting, acting etc.

Take a look at the trailer:

 

 

If you do see, or have seen it, let us know what you think.

Have a wonderful holiday everyone, and I will see you some time next week!

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FRIDAY FLOWERS

The bright and the not so bright (flower photos, that is).

It’s been hot hot hot here all week: perfect for daily lap swimming where the water is about 86° but not so perfect for all gardens.

My zinnias are starting to bloom (yay!) so I picked just a few. Then today I bought these gorgeous orange-red tulips at Whole Foods for $5.00. I couldn’t resist. And, if you notice, those are hydrangea leaves in the back. My two usually beautiful, floriforous shrubs will not have flowers this year. All the buds that were there in January were killed off in the subsequent hard freezes we had. There is always next year, right?

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Next up is sunny and bright… Some of my (from left to right) lavender, daisies, verbascum chaixii, Gloriosa Daisy and purple Phlox.

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And with some fun filters applied:

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This is what I will be having for lunch tomorrow, Friday.
A lobster roll!
It’s a special just this week at The Goat at Fearrington Village.

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What a nice way to start the weekend!

I’ll be back next week with just one post and the following week, well, I’m not sure. Travel plans are in my immediate future and I just never know how much time I will have. But as always, check in on Instagram for the latest updates!

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