Friday, August 29, 2008

Why I Love Carolyn Hax

From today's chat on the WaPo: Passing along a request from our Food Section friends
-- Do you love food but your significant other doesn't? Or vice versa? Does it
cause frustration/arguments when one of you wants to eat in a fancy restauarant
or cook a monumental dinner and the other would be just as happy with a pizza?
The Food section is working on a story and is looking for D.C.-area locals who
face this problem. If interested, please email your story, name and contact to

Carolyn Hax: Why fight when there's a clear compromise? A monumental

Sequoia-- Georgetown Waterfront

I can't tell you how much I love the last two weeks of August in DC. Congress goes on vacation and the city clears out. You can get a table at any restaurant in the city. You can find a seat on the Metro. And yes, dear readers, you can even find street parking in Georgetown. We're talking, multiple spaces, people!

And the last week in August also brings another special occasion-- my birthday. Imagine my chagrin when I looked at the Redskins schedule and saw that they had a boring, meaningless, stupid preseason game scheduled on my birthday. This, of course, means that Gary had to work. BOOOO. But-- a light in the darkness! My friend Nicole chose that day to have a party for her own 30th birthday. So, I took advantage of this small window of parking opportunity to drive down to Sequoia to help her celebrate.

I'd never been to this restaurant, but I have to say it's one of the prettiest I've seen in DC. The large windows facing the waterfront and the Kennedy Center make it a beautiful place for a party. And, it was basically empty. (Did I mention I love this time of year??)

After perusing the menu, I came upon... pizza. They do a grilled variety, which I have already sung the praises of in this blog. Nicole ordered a margherita pizza, and I had to try a piece... strictly for blogging purposes, of course.

It had an oblong shape, evoking a New Haven-style pie. It had nice smoky grill marks on the bottom of the crust. But the pizza tasted... okay. Nothing to get excited about. Nicole said that it tasted like "one of those pizza kits you get at the grocery store for $4.99." That's not exactly what I would call a rousing endorsement.

My advice: go to Sequoia for the view, not for the pizza.

Liza's rating: 1.5 stars

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mexican Pizza!

We had dinner at Steph and the Chef's last night, and they made Mexican pizza. It sounds kinda strange... but this stuff was awesome. This was an Emeril recipe and it was fantastic!
This also gives us an opportunity to plug our new blog: Guinea Pig Dinners. Our friends and I will try out new recipes on each other, and blog about the results. The first dinner had a Mexican theme. Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pizza-Making Fun!

Liza's brother and his family are visiting from Detroit this week. In between visits to the Capitol, White House, Air and Space Museum, etc, they came over to our house for dinner tonight. On the menu... well, PIZZA, of course! Our niece Erin became an expert pizza maker. Her explanation is here:

Our pizzas turned out beautifully!

This time, we made the dough from scratch using the snazzy Kitchenaid stand mixer we got as a wedding gift. This is the recipe we used, and it worked well! If you don't have a stand mixer, just knead by hand.

KitchenAid Crusty Pizza Dough
Source: KitchenAid Mixers Recipe Book
Yield: one 14-inch pizza

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 F to 115 F)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl. Add salt, olive oil and 2 1/2 cups flour. Attach bowl and dough hook. Turn to speed 2 and mix 1 minute.

Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes.

Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, fee from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down.

Brush 14-inch pizza pan with oil; sprinkle with cornmeal. Press dough across bottom of pan forming a collar around edge to hold filling. Top with desired fillings. Bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes depending on oven.

NOTE: We divided the dough to make three small pizzas. We baked it at 500 F on a pizza stone for 7 minutes.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chef Geoff-- Downtown

Ahhh, I love the summer. It's the time of the year for the beach, barbecues, and basically doing all those things that I'm not able to do during the school year. For me, this means being a Lady Who Lunches. So, Steph and I decided to put on some cute Ladies Lunching outfits, grab our sassiest purses, and head out to Chef Geoff's for a weekday meal and a nice glass of wine.

And while it may not be a Lady Who Lunches thing to do, I decided I would partake in one of their pizza pies.

Actually I thought the pizza tasted okay. But I have to say, the presentation left something to be desired. It was a good sized pizza, but it looked like the cheese and veggies had just been slopped on there as an afterthought. This was offensive to my pizza loving sensibilities. If you're going to put it on the menu, then you have to RESPECT THE PIE.

Liza's rating: 2.0 stars

Sunday, August 3, 2008

BJ's Chicago Pizzeria-- Maui, Hawaii

Well, we're back from our honeymoon and frankly, we wish we were still there. Maui and Kauai were both incredible. But, we had to come back to DC sometime, because our beloved blog was being sorely neglected.

But you wouldn't expect us to spend a whole vacation without trying at least one new pizza place, would you? Of course not.

So, one night when we were in Maui, we ventured out to Lahaina town for dinner. We were told that the best pizza there was at a place called BJ's. Don't have to tell us twice-- we were all over it.

Bj's has Chicago style, deep dish pizza. Now, I absolutely LOVE a good deep dish pie. Gary is not as much of a fan, but he was game.

This is kind of a blurry picture (but you can see Gary's wedding ring glinting in the background... awwwwww) but it shows how this pizza has stewed tomatoes on the top-- yummy. The crust was fabulous and it was hot and gooey, just like a good deep dish pizza should be.

I was a huge fan. Gary liked it, but Chicago style is not really his thing. But, we'd both recommend this pizza place if you are lucky enough to find yourself in west Maui!

Liza's rating: 4.0 stars
Gary's rating: 3.0 stars