Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week 19 (and beyond!): The Finished Product

After watching Justin and I on House Hunters many of you have asked about the kitchen.

"Did you finish the renovation?"

Yes, we finished filming in March and the kitchen was finished in late-April.

"Did Justin get the dream kitchen he always wanted?"

I would say, "yes." It offers enough room for the two of us and more. When he's cooking and I'm doing the dishes we don't get in each other's way, which is good. Of course, this is our first home so we do good with the space we have, however, there is always room for more kitchen space in the future.

Now without further ado, our kitchen!

Of course it features the stainless steel appliance suite that I discussed here.

To review a bit...here is the kitchen plan from Ikea:

And some pictures of the progress:

The old dining room leading to the kitchen

 Our pseudo-housewarming party (before the demo)

After the demo...

Building the addition from the ground up....

Framing the new kitchen

Then the drywall...

Then the paint...

Then the floor...

And then..drumroll please! 

Our kitchen now...yay! Yes, I didn't tidy, deal with it :p

Justin making dinner, yum!

Louie wants his close-up...

One of my favorite things about our kitchen is the lighting.  Recessed, in-cabinet, and under-cabinet lighting...the whole she-bang :)

ps...notice the fancy blinds on our big kitchen window. We got those professionally installed. I'll probably be doing a post about all the window treatments in our house sometime in the future (I hope!).

And the piece de resistance! The fridge--which I loved and picked! Love the bottom freezer.  No more frozen meats dropping on my foot. That's never happened to you?

C'est fini! (French for "It's finished!") For now... :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our House Hunters Viewing Party

A friend of our realtors, Man on the Street DC, came to our viewing party to (in his words) "watch people, watch themselves on HGTV." LOL...

You can see the interviews he conducted (with a cameo by yours truly) below:

I love seeing everyone's reactions during various parts of our episode.

To see the entire article accompanying this video clip, click here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We're Reality Show Celebrities! ;)

Hello everybody! Were you able to tune in yesterday to our House Hunters debut? If not, no worries, it'll be on plenty of times in the future, just click on the link that I gave you in this post for the next airing.

Anyway, we had a ton of fun! Our good friend Sam organized a viewing party at one of the bars on the Hill, Union Pub.  Our realtor, friends and family had all gathered in the side room for the episode. Once it aired we were all cracking up at our comments, reactions, and roommates one-liners. hehehe...It's pretty funny that I'm getting recognized around work as the "House Hunters-Capitol Hill Girl."

One of the most common questions people ask me after going through this experience is, "How did you get to be on the show?" Well, like most reality TV, you either have to attend an open casting call or submit an audition video. We did the latter. For those that are curious, our audition video is below:

We were also featured on a local neighborhood blog, The Hill Is Home

Monday, August 15, 2011

We're Making Our TV Debut!

Remember when I told you guys that Justin and I were going to be on TV (here and here)? Well, you don't have to wait anymore because after almost a year of waiting we are finally making our television debut on...

drumroll please...

Image from http://www.pietown.tv/

Our episode is set to air Monday, August 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM EST on HGTV.  It looks like it'll be on at 8:00 on the West Coast too. Click on our description below for more info.

Unfortunately, this air date will be the first time we will be seeing the episode as well. I thought we would be getting a sneak peak before everyone else, but that is not the case. Hopefully, I don't look too weird/dorky/fat/etc...too late now, huh? 

As far as a viewing party is concerned, details are coming soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our Experience at Volt Table 21

When I got married last year, my bridesmaid's present to N. (an adventurous foodie) and Judy (my little sister who cooks at the highest Zagat's rated restaurant in DC) were seats at Volt's Table 21.  Table 21 is (as the title would indicate) is a 21 course tasting menu at Bryan Voltaggio's restaurant in Frederick, Maryland. (Yes, Bryan Voltaggio of Top Chef fame!) Unfortunately, he wasn't in the kitchen that evening (probably doing some superstar celebrity chef stuff), but it was a great experience nonetheless.

But before I go into our wonderful dining experience; let me tell you what a tough ticket it was to get three of the seven coveted seats.

Last year around May or so, I started thinking about what I would give my some of my bridesmaids as a gift.  I believe the season of Top Chef with the Voltaggio brothers had just aired and I thought it would be so cool to eat at Bryan's restaurant since it was relatively close by.  Frederick, MD is about an hour outside of Washington, DC.

Anyway, I called the reservations line and I asked for three seats and Table 21. The hostess replied that she had three seats available on August 10...I thought to myself, "Great! It would only be a month after the wedding. Perfect!" She then continuted to clairify that it was August 10, 2011! Over a year away! Eek. Figuring that having a reservation (even if it was over a year away) was better than having no reservation, I booked it.

At our wedding rehearsal in San Diego, I sheepishly presented N. and Judy a printed piece of paper indicating our reservations. They assured me that it would come by in no time, and boy did it! Time really flew and before you knew it the day had come of us to dine at Table 21.

Here is a picture of us at Table 21!

And now the courses...with my little thoughts/descriptions of each

"Mojito" 10 cane, simple syrup
I liked it. It was a nice, minty palate cleanser!

Chips and dip potato, barbeque, chive
The chips were made from this dried meat. Really light and crispy. The dip was like a creamy soup.

Celeriac macaroon foie gras
It was like a candy with a foie gras center! I love me some foie gras!

Heirloom tomatoes farmers daughter shrimp, gazpacho, basil
Nice and fresh, using seasonal produce. The shrimp was nice and plump, too!

Sashimi of fluke yellow doll watermelon, ginger, cucumber blossom
This was a favorite of N. and Judy (I liked it too!) The sashimi combined with the decorative sauces and garnishes were a flavor explosion!

Sheep's milk cavatelli, broccoli rabe, bacon lardon, flowers and herbs
I think that this was the first of many courses that had flowers. Toward the end, N. was not a fan, lol...

Maine lobster, steel cut oats, honeycap mushrooms, kombu, fresh yeast
Umm...lobster, need I say more? The steel cut oats had the flavor and texture of risotto. It was delicious!

Rockfish artichoke barigoule, overnight tomato, roasted fennel
Why is it that fish cooked with its skin on is always so flavorful?

Hen egg ruby quinoa, thyme, minus eight vinegrette
This was one of the weirdest courses. The egg white was clear! Can you see it?

Sweetbreads fennel, oyster mushrooms, hazelnuts, caper
Oopsies.  I forgot to take a pic of this one, but what needs to be said about sweetbreads? Yum!

"Spring garden" beets, cherry glen farm chevre, coffee soil, asparagus
This was one of my faves, although I think I'm alone on this one. It combined all the cool cooking techniques of molecular gastronomy (e.g.: mousse, freeze-drying, dehydrating, etc.) all in one plate.

Foie gras crystal lettuce, gala apple, brioche
This one was a little strange. The best part of foie gras is the warm, creaminess of it, so when the foie gras came freeze dried, me and my dinner mates thought it was weird, but I still ate it up!

Red wattle pork belly cherry, cranberry beans, stewed mustard
The pork belly was cooked to perfection! Nice and crispy (and fatty)!

Whitmore farm rabbit prosciutto, kalamata olive, cassoulet of summer beans, marjoram
This dish reminded me of a Hillshire Farm kielbasa.

Lamb cheek, ratatouille, baby spinach, squash blossom
More flowers which N. dutifully picked out

Wagyu beef tenderloin, salt crusted potatoes, purple turnip, pickled mustard
At this point, Judy was getting really full so I ate half of hers as well! How could you not finish wagyu beef? That ought to be a crime!

"Wedge salad"
This is was a deconstructed wedge salad where all the elements were freeze dried. We weren't fans and by the looks of it, it didn't look like the other guests enjoyed it that much either. The lettuce was watery and the freeze dried blue cheese was too sharp, although I did eat the freeze dried bacon on the top. ;)

Coconut, lavender, vanilla
The first of the desserts. This was totally awesome. My overall favorite of the evening.  I would go back for this dessert in a minute if I could! The dessert smelled of lavender revealing a cool ice cream-like center. It was awesome!

Dulce de leche honey, lime, pineapple
This dessert was good too! The dulce de leche gelatin reminded me a tootsie roll and the decorative cookie crisp was delicious!

Yellow corn, blackberry, sorrel
This one reminded me of cobbler. The corn cake and fruit compote were the perfect pair.


Chocolates, candies, and macaroons
Lastly, we were offered this assortment as a finishing touch to a great experience. They even gave us a box to take home which I shared with Justin and Jill.

As Judy told me, this isn't the type of place you go to everyday (it's defnitely molecular gastronomy to the extreme), but if you're looking for delicious, creative (and filling!) food, I would definitely recommend Volt's Table 21.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Weekend Review: Adventures in Dog-Sitting

Hello Everybody, welcome to a another installment of Weekend Review (on Tuesday). Since I'm a day late already, I'll just mention some of the highlights.

On Firday night Justin and I met up with our friend who was in town visiting from Florida. She used to live in the DC area and we miss her a ton.

Here's a group pic at the newest H St. restaurant/bar, TruOrleans.  She's the one with the sexy pixie cut! :)

Last year, she came to my bachelorette party. Can you believe it was her first time in Vegas? I couldn't! We had so much fun that weekend and made so many memories. Too bad I can't say anything about it...hehehe...

Here is half of my Vegas Bachelorette crew. Doing the Las Vegas...Triple X! (Sorry, inside joke!)

On Saturday and Sunday we were pretty low key, but on Sunday afternoon while we were in the kitchen Justin saw a Scottish Terrier wandering our back alley. I initially thought it was a cat because there is usually a large black cat that hangs out in the back alley. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a dog. What was a dog doing wandering around by himself? I had no clue, but I'm sure his owner was missing him. I let him in our house because he looked a little thirsty and probably hot since he had black fur.

Anyway, we let him inside gave him a little water and looked at his collar. "Fala." I wasn't sure if that was girl name or a boy name (we would later find out that Fala was boy), but I couldn't help but sing "Deck the Halls" (fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la). We left voicemail messages on the phone numbers that were on his tag and let him play with Louie. Or actually Louie was trying to force Fala to play with him, but he wasn't having it. One of the owners called us back and said he was in California.  His sister was dog-sitting Fala and he said he would ask her to pick him up. Shortly after Jusin got off the phone with Fala's owner, W., our neighbor two houses down called and said that his girlfriend was the owner's sister.  She was dog-sitting Fala and he escaped while they were taking out the trash. I was glad to hear that Fala didn't travel too far and that he would be picked up.

Here are Louie and Fala doing their best "sit"...

According to W., Fala is very crafty and tries to escape whenever he gets the chance. Although, we really weren't dog-sitting, it was interesting test to see if we could handle watching two dogs at the same time (we couldn't!).