unconventional diner

Have ya’ll tried the Unconventional Diner? I’ve eaten there 3 times and it’s  been fantastic. Perhaps in the highest compliment for this eatery was my Dad liked it. (Shocker! He doesn’t like anything because he always thinks he can make it better. *this is what happens when you used to own restaurants*)

ud chicken

The highlight for both my Dad and husband was the fried chicken. It was everything fried chicken should be: there was dark meat. It was crispy and juicy. There was hot sauce. They also loved the biscuit and gravy.

salmon ud

My go-to order has been the miso salmon with zucchini and pine nuts. It’s delicious!

mural ud

I also love the art in the restaurant. The mural near the bar is one of my favorite pieces of art in DC.

I’m thrilled to have a new restaurant in our rotation.

Unconventional Diner 1207 9th St NW WDC 20001


read more

master bathroom before after entry

After months of planning and three weeks of construction, the master bathroom renovation is done! I am thrilled with the results and the photos speak for themselves.

before after vanity2

The biggest change was transforming the shower stall into a vanity for my husband.  While it was never a hardship to share one vanity, having two is superb. There are many things I love about the new vanities: there’s a medicine cabinet! Two drawers of storage! My favorite is the One Forty Three light. I love color but kept the finishes neutral. The light is my one pop of color and it makes me smile. One Forty Three made them in a custom size and color but they were still affordable at $175 each.

before after mb vanitiy1

A million times better, right?  The bathroom feels larger and the amount of storage we gained is insane. I *actually* don’t have enough stuff to put in the medicine cabinet, vanity drawers and the tall cabinet near the tub.

before after tub

For the floors, I used a 14″ x 16″ porcelain tile by Storka. For the tub and the vanity alcoves, I used a 1.9″ x 7.8″ matte white subway tile laid vertically.  I can’t find a link for it but it came from Home Depot. I also added 2 overhead 9″ LED lights from ylighting.  The faucets and shower are by Moen, the Eva line.

Next on the agenda is adding art and accessories.

Shout out to Justin Mattice of Mattice Designs for taking my ideas and making them into a reality. He was instrumental in sourcing the tile, cabinets, and vanities. He was also really patient. I had 8000 questions and concerns.

read more


Over the holidays, I finally went to All Purpose.  The pizzeria in Shaw has had a lot of good press and Tom Sietsema said it was his #1 restaurant in DC.


My husband and I went for lunch and we shared a roasted squash and apple salad and each had a pizza.  I really enjoyed the salad of red endive, carrots, apple, celery and radish atop the roasted butternut squash.


My husband went for the DIY pie and got pepperoni.  He said it was better than 2 Amy’s and in the DC pizza world, that’s the highest compliment you can receive.

I had the gluten free pizza with pepperoni.  There’s no photo because gluten free pizza is sad. Dairy is out for me too so it’s just dough and pepperoni.  Who wants to see that?  As for the pizza itself, it was OK. I don’t know if I’d go back for it. However, gluten free pizza is hard and the whole place shouldn’t be judged on this one category.  I’ve only found ONE decent gluten free pizza in all of DC.

Overall, I’d go back for the antipasti and because everyone else will enjoy a fantastic pizza.

Located at 1250 9th St, NW. WDC 20001.  202-849-6174

read more

hood-happenings-declinks and photos clockwise: washington city paper, washington business journal, urban turf, urban turf.

read more


Hazel Restaurant opened at 808 V St, NW in June and it’s been a welcome addition to the slew of new restaurants in the ‘hood. The menu is divided into several categories: vegetables, breads and batter, fish and shellfish, meats and poultry. There’s also a section called Lazy Susan dinners which requires 2 or more people to eat the dishes.  So far, my husband and I have sampled the regular menu but not the Lazy Susan items.  The food is globally inspired which means the menu is a wonderful mish mash of flavors from different places.  The chef, Rob Rubba, is skilled at blending these elements and creates a delightful dining experience.

One of my favorite dishes is the hamachi crudo with crisp rice, black lime, radish and hibiscus. One thing I love about Hazel is the presentation.  It’s thoughtful and creative.  Then there’s the food itself: not only does this look beautiful, it tastes amazing.  I order the crudo every time we eat at Hazel.


This one of my husband’s favorite dishes: steamed little neck clams, brown butter miso broth and steamed potatoes with a side of rice to sop up the broth.  Yum!


On our last visit, Hazel had just added this dish to the menu.  DO NOT MISS this one: it’s duck sausage, roasted squash, shaved pear, mizuna and spicy cashews.  It’s unbelievable and I can’t wait to go back and eat it again.

Not every dish at Hazel is a winner but that’s not going to deter me from returning.  Welcome to the neighborhood Hazel.  We’re glad to have you!


read more


Haikan, the latest ramen joint from the Daikaya folks, has finally opened at 805 V St, NW in Shaw/U St.  It’s been open around two weeks and my husband has already been twice. It’s going to be his local spot and his reviews are favorable. Which means it’s amazing.  He’s a tough critic.  It’s open for lunch (right now) Friday-Sunday from 12-3 and for dinner 5-10:30.

ramenThis is the Shoyu ramen with extra noodles and corn.  There’s not 2 pictures because unfortunately, there’s no gluten free ramen at Haikan.  I know I can’t expect every restaurant to offer a gluten free options but I’m bummed.  I love ramen.  The dinner menu has a few offerings I could enjoy but it looks like Haikan is not going to be a regular haunt for me. However, that shouldn’t stop you from checking it out!

read more


Last weekend, I went to Ghibellina and had my first Aperol Spritz of the summer.  It was just as delicious and refreshing as I remembered. I have a feeling I’ll be indulging in a few more as the summer continues.  For your drinking pleasure, the recipe is below.

Aperol Spritz
3 parts prosecco
2 parts aperol
1 part soda water
garnish with an orange slice


read more

hood happeningsphotos and links left to right: borderstan, washington city paper, popville, washingtonian

read more

marvinDC is a town that loves to brunch. A lot folks go for the boozy brunch were you can drink bottomless mimosas and bloody mary’s. My focus is on the food and I have a handful of favorites. You’ll notice most are in my ‘hood or within walking distance. When I don’t have to work, I like to leave the car at home and enjoy the city on foot. Enjoy!

marvinMarvin’s brunch menu is concise but it has a number of delicious options. The chicken and waffle is one of my husband’s favorites. I like the huevos rancheros (homemade tortillas…yum) or the egg sandwich on a waffle bun.


One of my favorite items on Pearl Dive’s brunch menu is their insane homemade donuts. They change daily and they’re delectable. I’m also partial to the scrambled eggs and cayenne grits. My husband’s favorite is the eggs benedict with the country ham. Of course there’s always oysters!

le diplomateBrunch at Le Diplomate is an event.  It’s crazy crowded but there’s no better place to swill rosé and people watch. My favorite is the Niçoise salad that features confit tuna. I could eat it everyday.  Another yummy option is the daily quiche.

read more

miami-sailboatsAfter finally getting back to the US, my husband and I were stuck in Miami for four days.  I know..my life is full of hardship. While DC was being buried in snow, I was strolling around Miami enjoying more sand and sun.


I used the Hotel Tonight app to book us at The Standard. I loved the pool and the spa but the room was tiny and loud. Most of the time, you’re in Miami for sun and fun so tiny and loud doesn’t matter. Since we were stuck, it didn’t go over as well.  Would I stay there again?  Yes. Would my husband?  Absolutely not.

miami-palm-treesThe last day we were in Miami, it was 75 and sunny and we spent the day at The Standard pool. When we arrived, it was 50.  50 equals freezing in Miami and it definitely wasn’t beach or pool weather. On Monday, we spent the day exploring Miami’s Design District.  We saw a lot of great street art and explored the Design District’s high end clothing and furniture shops.

Miami’s food scene continues to evolve and we had a lot of good meals.  We had kick ass Cuban food at Las Olas. It’s a dive but there’s always a line of locals. The pulled pork and plantains were amazing and it was my favorite meal of our visit. We also ate at the Market at Edition, Milos, Sardinia Enoteca, Salumeria 104, and Yardbird. Not one of these meals was bad and I highly recommend any of these places.

Overall, Miami wasn’t a bad place to get stuck for a couple of days. However, I was happy to get back to DC.  Snow aside, it’s always nice to come home.




read more



Last week, my husband and I spent a few days in Harbour Island, Bahamas.  It’s absolutely stunning.  What we didn’t anticipate was the impact of #snowzilla on the weather.  While we were far, far away, the #snowzilla weather system wreaked havoc on the entire east coast. Instead of 75 and sunny, we got 68, windy and rainy.  It was a bummer.  We enjoyed a few mornings at the beach (in every layer we had in our suitcase) but it wasn’t exactly as I envisioned. I know..pity party for me, right?  Boo hoooooo.


While the weather was disappointing, overall we had a ball.  Harbour Island is picturesque. It’s tiny island off the coast of Eleuthera. The only way to reach it is by water taxi.  Everyone drives golf carts and it takes about 15 minutes to get from one side of the island to the other. It’s full of colorful homes and pink sand beaches.  The food is amazing.  Every meal we had was delicious and we enjoyed many cocktails.



By the end of our trip, I was stir crazy. Unless the weather is good, there’s not a ton to do. We were there 3 full days and I was ready to get off the island.  My take away: Harbour Island is the perfect weekend get away but I don’t know if I could spend a week there.

The weather was also freaking me out.  Our flight back to DC was cancelled and suddenly, it looked like we were going to be stuck in Harbour Island for longer than anticipated. No bueno. After a fight with our airline, I arranged for us to get back to Miami.  More on that tomorrow!

Where to Stay: The Dunmore, Rock House    We stayed at the Rock House.  We stayed in the Rock House, Negril many years ago and loved it.  Rock House, Harbor Island was also fantastic.  It’s not beach front which I didn’t realize.  (dur)  If you want beach front, stay at The Dunmore.  It’s gorgeous too!

Where to Eat: The Landing, Rock House, The Dunmore, Arthurs (breakfast and lunch only), Sip Sip (lunch only), Bahamas Coffee Roaster.

read more

hood-happenings1.16Happy 2016!  Lots of good stuff happening in the ‘hood lately. Can you believe the plans for the new Whole Foods?!  Holy cow..it’s going to be massive.  I’m also excited about the proposed park.  Our corner of DC definitely needs some green space.

links and photos top to bottom:  Urban Turf, Washington Post, Washington City Paper, POP 

read more