good eats | banana bread

Whenever I have bananas that have gone bad (those outlaws!), I make a batch of banana bread. My husband loves it and it's received rave reviews from my friends.  Not only does it taste delicious, it's low fat. Enjoy! Banana Bread 2 large eggs 3/4 cup sugar 1 cup smashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium) 1/3 cup buttermilk 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2-inch pan; dust with flour. Using electric mixer; beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until thick and light, about 5 minutes. Mix in smashed bananas, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt over mixture; beat until just blended. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake bread until golden brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes (check to see if done at 45 minutes). Turn bread out onto rack and cool. recipe via epicurious.com...
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neighborhood guide | columbia heights

Columbia Heights has changed radically in the years I've lived in DC. When I first moved to the city, it was a sleepy residential neighborhood with little retail and foot traffic.  Then came the development starting with DC USA, a new Giant grocery store, and multiple apartment and condo buildings.  Now it's a bustling, pedestrian friendly neighborhood full of restuarants and retail.  It's so cool, the NY Times has designated it a "hip strip".   SHOP at DC USA.  Unfortunately, Columbia Heights doesn't have any local home goods stores.  Instead, there's national chains.   Shop at the only Target in DC, Marshall's and Bed Bath and Beyond.  While they're not as fun as some of the other stores I've featured in my neighborhood guides, they get the job done.   EAT at Maple and El Chuco.  Maple is small so expect to wait.  Once that part of the evening is behind you, get ready to enjoy a delicious meal.  El Chucho is the best Mexican food I've encountered in DC.  They also have fantastic margaritas and a fun roof top deck. DRINK at Wonderland Ballroom and Room 11.  Wonderland Ballroom was the first bar to open on 11th St. back in the day.  The cheap beer, big patio and great jukebox make this a favorite neighborhood hang out. Room 11 is another beloved neighborhood spot.  Their wine and cocktail list is outstanding and they also have a lovely patio....
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etto

Out of all of the new restaurants opening in my 'hood, I was most excited about Etto.  Etto is a collaboration between the guys at 2 Amy's and the guys at Standard. I grew up in an Italian restaurant that served excellent pizza so I consider myself a pizza expert.  2 Amy's is, by far, the best pizza in town.  I knew Etto wouldn't disappoint and it didn't. On Sunday, hungover exhausted from the wedding in NC, my husband and I walked to Etto.  It's located on the corner of 14th and Q St, NW.  The space is sparely but beautifully decorated and has 42 seats.  There will massive lines due to the limited number of seats and they do not take reservations.  Since we dine at the same time as toddlers and the elderly, this shouldn't be a problem for us.  For all you normal folk, you will wait for a table and forget about large parties. As I anticipated, the food was fantastic.  I focused on the pizza and the small dishes.  The small plates we sampled were fresh and delicious.  I was completely enamoured with the porcini salad.  The lemon vinagrette was out of this world. The pizza was perfect.  Overall,  it was my ideal meal after a long weekend.   Etto 1541 14th St, NW  Open Tuesday-Sunday at 5pm....
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riveting rooms

I love sitting outside when the weather is nice.  This weekend was absolutely beautiful and as I often do, I wish I had my own back yard.  This covered porch/pool area is divine and I could see myself relaxing here all hours of the day. Too bad it's in Argentina but it's a fantastic idea, no? photo via Nuevo...
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happy memorial day!

I hope you had a great holiday weekend!  As I predicted on Friday, it was a crazy weekend.   I ratified a contract on Friday night (yea!).  On Saturday morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn to take a flight to Raleigh for a wedding.  I arrive at DCA and waited for my flight to leave.  At the appointed time,  I was told the flight was boarding.  I got on the bus to the plane and then, the buses were called back because the plane needed maintenance.  Shortly thereafter, the flight was cancelled.  You can imagine what sort of mess evolved. The wedding was scheduled to start at 5:30 and I needed to get to Raleigh by 4pm.  After a lot of haggling with the US Airways people (they suck, btw. never have I seen so many people that were completely unhelpful), I got a seat on another flight except it was leaving from BWI.  Cue mad dash to BWI.  I hopped in a taxi, got on flight #2 with no problem and arrived at exactly 4pm.  It felt like "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" except mine involved a lot planes and taxi's.  I quickly got dressed for the wedding and managed to arrive by 5:30.  It was such a crazy day!! The wedding was pretty, a ton of fun and I'm so glad I made it.  I'm still tired. I'm working this afternoon and already, I want to take a nap.  Holiday? What holiday?   Meanwhile, I hope you all took a moment to honor the men and women who protect this country.  I'm not particularly patriotic, but my brother-in-law was in the Army for years.  To him and all the others, thank...
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it’s a wrap

I should be celebrating the end of this week because it's a 3 day holiday.  Instead, it's about to get crazy.   I had a ball at the beach but I've felt behind the last few days.  I'm off to a wedding on Saturday..literally flying in and flying out.  I'll be in Raleigh for less than 24 hours because this girl has to work.  Although I'm sad to be missing some of the festivities, it's good that I've stayed in town.  Deals are brewing.  Meanwhile, what I really want to do is have a picnic.  I want to put a blanket in some grass, eat yummy food, drink wine or a crazy cocktail and enjoy the glorious weather.  Except it's raining..again!  Maybe next week....
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art on the walls

After months of gathering dust, I finally framed and hung the two pieces by Yao Cheng in my bedroom.  I'm so pleased with the results!  For me, the final touch to finishing a room is what you put on the walls.  It's also the aspect that I find the hardest. I also added this yellow and white piece from Lulu DK.  (pear water color was a wedding gift..so cute!)  I bought this piece on One King's Lane.  I'm completely obsessed with this website.  It's, by far, the best of the "sale" sites out there.  They constantly have great vintage pieces, emerging artists, lighting, accessories and rugs.  I could buy a million rugs..they have the best options!  I also recently purchased an orange and white dhurrie for the guest bedroom from them.  One day I'll take photos of that room.  It's still a work in...
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‘hood happenings | new restaurants

Yesterday when I was putting together my 'hood happenings post, I realized a slew of new restaurants had opened in the 'hood.  So many that I needed an additional post.  After months of being bored with the dining scene, I'm excited to discover these new places.     Piola 2208 14th St, NW   Piola, the international pizza chain, finally opened this week.  The restaurant has been in the making for over a year.  This week is the soft opening and all food is 50% off.    Taqueria Nacional and Bakehouse 1409 T St, NW/1407 T St, NW Taqueria Nacional and Bakehouse opened last week after a year of renovation and building.   Taqueria Nacional is a taco joint offering a variety of options: beef, fish, chicken, chorizo and lamb.  Bakehouse is a bakery and coffee house.   Etto 1541 14th St, NW Etto is a pizza and salumi restaurant and the soft opening was last week.  The owners of Standard and Two Amy's have collaborated on this concept and it's bound to be delicious.      Ghibellina 1610 14th St, NW Ghibellina is an Italian gastropub from the owners of Acqua al 2.  They're serving classic Tuscan dishes and pizza.  Their doors opened last week as well.   Le Diplomate 1601 14th St, NW Le Diplomate, the first Stephen Starr restaurant in DC, is a french brasserie that opened in April.  Click here to see what I thought.   Black Whiskey 1410 14th St, NW Black Whiskey is a bar/restaurant featuring small batch whiskeys and Scottish food plus a performance and gallery space.  The concept is from the Kushi guys and it sounds like an interesting mix.  Their first day of business was last week. B Too 1324 14th St, NW B Too is the second DC venture from Top Chef contestant Bart Vandaele.  The restaurant is serving modern Belgium cuisine, including his signature mussels and frites that he perfected at Belga Cafe.  B Too opened the first week of May.  ...
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‘hood happenings

links and photos top to bottom: Urban Turf, Washington City Paper, Borderstan, Washington Post...
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riveting rooms

Isn't this kitchen perfect? It's crisp, open and I want to recreate the entire look.  I didn't think I was a fan of a white kitchen because I always think about cleaning it.  Keeping it pristine would be hard.  Yet my eye is drawn to this again and again.  I'm back in DC and it's grey and dreary. I miss the beach. We had a great time celebrating my parents and it was good to see my brother and sister-in-law.  We drank entirely too much champagne, looked at photos from their trip and hung out.  It's exactly how my folks wanted to commemorate their anniversary.  It was a ton of fun.  They liked the new light fixtures and their anniversary gift, which was a photo of blue and white umbrellas on the Amalfi Coast by Judith Gigliotti.    photo via...
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see ya later

I'm so the glad the weekend has finally arrived!  I plan to enjoy the beach and hang with my folks.  The new light fixtures were a big hit.  I'm looking forward to hearing stories and viewing pictures from my parent's Italy trip.  The weather is absolutely beautiful and I can't wait to put my toes in the sand.  Have a great...
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switcheroo

Some years I kick ass at the present thing and some years I suck.  This year, I dropped the ball on my parent's 45th Anniversary.  I knew it was coming but I didn't do my normal prep. I didn't sneak into the piles of photos and create something awesome.  I didn't plan my usual big to-do.  I did buy them a pretty cool present but it's arriving in June.  I consider that a fail.  I was racking my brain for something to do when I thought of the perfect gift. My parent's beach house is cute as pie.  Painted in sea glass colors, it's colorful and comfortable.  However, there were remnants from the previous owners who had dubious taste.  It was definitely not my parent's thing. (Remember the chandelier I re-did a couple of years ago?  How could anyone consider that attractive?  It's cute now..but really?!)  While my parents have remedied most of it with new paint, a re-tiled kitchen, and new furniture, there were still a few eyesores.  Like the bathroom lights.  They were hideous and my parents hated them.  At any rate, they never replaced them. There's a million things a beach house needs and replacing the light fixtures just because they're ugly wasn't high on the list.  For years they've had these awful light fixtures that didn't fit with the rest of the aesthetic.  So I replaced them.  Happy Anniversary! Per usual, I started the project before I thought about documenting anything for the blog.  My photos are bad iphone photos and I completely forgot to take before and afters of the master bathroom lights.  Dur.     ...
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