- On New Year's Eve, we went to Crush with Alicia, Mike, Kyle and Mary. I was hesitant, as I'd never actually been out to dinner for New Year's before, and I'd heard horror stories from people who had. We chose Crush because a) it's really close and b) they were serving their regular menu. And you know what? We were super pleased with everything. We've been back since, too, making it our most-visited restaurant in, well, a long time.
- On New Year's Day, Cooper and Dixon and I drove down to Fenwick Island so I could take a much-needed break from the internet (pathetic, I know). While we were there, we had a really excellent meal at La Hacienda - better than we've ever had there, and I'm really not only saying this because Cooper's cousin Gilly works there. It was great, especially the rockfish ceviche appetizer (it was a special). The next night, we followed the recommendations of a whole bunch of people and went to Mancini's, where we also had a good meal, including a great bottle of Barolo and a crispy, excellent pizza from their wood-fired oven.
- Speaking of pizza, a couple of weeks ago, we spent Kyle's birthday in Canton, starting with pizza at Matthews. I'd had carry-out before, but had never been to the restaurant and I loved it. The place oozes old Baltimore personality - it's small and crowded and everybody's friendly and the walls are covered with maps and posters. The pizza totally lives up to it's reputation, too. Mine was simple - a couple of kinds of cheeses plus green peppers and onions - but fantastic. After dinner, we headed over to Elliott's Pour House for drinks and the Ravens game. The one they lost. Fortunately, we had a nice spot next to the bar and a steady stream of drinks. Jeff has a ton of beer on tap now, so if you're into that, you've really got to get there. It's exactly my favorite kind of bar - not too big but not too small, friendly, neighborhoody, and cute.
- I have also been doing some cooking at home, including a bit of experimentation. About six months ago, Cooper's mom passed along a recipe for chicken peperonata that apparently Cooper's always liked. I made the recipe and found it way too hot for my palate - which is saying something. (I have a feeling that the fault lies with me, not the recipe.) Ever since then, I've been on the lookout for similar recipes that won't burn the skin off my tongue. I found a good one in this Bon Appetit recipe (it was quick, too) but after I tried this Food & Wine version, I was sold. The fennel seeds are a small addition, but it makes a big difference. Highly recommended.
- Finally, a couple of weeks ago, our friend Tommy gave me a copy of The Joy of Cooking. He uses it as his "go-to" reference book - and I can absolutely see why. On Saturday, while we were watching the snow pile up, Dixon and I decided to bake something and my new book delivered a simple recipe for snickerdoodles (that only involved stuff I had in the house already). The results, while very tasty, were also very ugly (my fault, not the book's). But I've become a fan of the book forever.
So, that's been my month. One post, lots of stuff crossed off my "to-write" list.