Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Old Ebbitt Grill-Washington DC


Upon checking in at The Madison in downtown Washington DC, I did the same thing that I do in any new city that I travel to-I started researching where to dine!  The helpful concierge handed me a five page restaurant list.  I scoped out the places which were on the same street as the hotel for a starting point and then cross-referenced them with Urbanspoon.  I had made a selection and just had to run it by Lynn, my roomie for the weekend, who had not yet arrived.

While she was freshening up, I went back downstairs to speak to the handsome concierge again, this time to determine if there were any other sights that we might see on our walk to and from Old Ebbit Grill. Did I feel like a hick from the sticks when he pulled out a tourist map and showed me that the Old Ebbitt Grill was next door to the White House!

We knew before arrival that they were fully booked for the evening, but we decided to take our chances and find a stool at the bar.  This turned out to be the perfect choice as our bar keep was a feisty little thing with a big personality.  I haven’t seen a multi-tasker like she was in my life.  So too, we got to witness the dining room servers with their variety of world accents, requesting their wine and cocktails from our bartender.  Well in truth, they shouted their requests at her.  This turned out to be part of the charm of this bustling place.

My first beverage choice was a DC Brau “The Public” which was a local pale ale.  The flavour was very hoppy, which made me very happy…. (sorry I could not resist).

I was delighted to see that they identified that their mussels were from the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island but decided upon a cup of chili to start.  I loaded this up with the available options of chopped white onions, sour cream and cheddar.  Lynn took our server’s recommendation and choose the bacony clam chowder (Boston style).

We took time to pause before we selected our main courses to soak in the cozy ambiance of the room.  It was not hard for me to imagine whispered and highly political conversations taking place in the low lit booths or the deals that must have been negotiated by lobbyists at the bar top.  Imagine the number of fascinating people who have passed through these doors since 1856?  I noticed as I walked down the white marble stairs and passed the “Cabinet” room, that they had been worn away in the centre of each step by constant use.

I had my first taste of  Lynne’s soft shelled crab.  I was fascinated by textured and the taste was sweet and succulent.

I chose a jumbo lump crab cake.  It was stacked inches high, was crunchy on the surface and meaty and delicious on the inside.

We were perfectly satisfied and content to be on our way but our server insisted that she treat us to dessert ( there had been a temperature issue with my meal).  I couldn’t resist the strawberry short cake made in the authentic style and crowned with local strawberries.

Lynne, the baker, was delighted with the strawberry and rhubarb pie and commented particularly on the skill displayed in the making of the crust.

We did find our way for a view of the White House that night.  I was especially thrilled when I saw a light in a room go off and another go on.  My imagination was stirred again of Michelle putting the girls to bed….

Old Ebbitt Grill on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Food history is as important as a baroque church. Governments should recognize cultural heritage and protect traditional foods.  A cheese is as worthy of preserving as a sixteenth-century building.” –Carlo Petrini

Top 20 Things I Loved About Eat Write Retreat 2012


Eat Write Retreat 2012 was my very first (but not my last) Food Bloggers Conference.  I have only been home for 12 hours, but want to share my thoughts while they are fresh.

The Top 20 Things that I Loved about Eat Write Retreat 2012:

#20.  Washington, DC.  D visited there many years ago and so the destination has not been on our mutual bucket list.  I am so glad that I got to experience it.  I absolutely loved the trees, flowers, galleries, architecture and dining.

#19.  The Madison Hotel.  A lovely, central location, within walking of all of our events AND the White House.  Affordable elegance and cheerful, helpful staff.

#18.  The people of Washington, DC.  I met with kindness over and over again but most significantly when I misplaced my netbook and the Delta agent look all over the airport to reunite us.

#17.  Washington’s Restaurants.  From Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, AGAINN and Old Ebbitt Grill, there was good eating around every corner.

#16.  Dogfish Head Beer.  I got to taste my first strawberry beer-a cross between an ale and a cider.  J1 would be proud of his momma.

#15.  Goo Goo Clusters.  D doesn’t mind when I travel, IF I bring him home yummy treats-and these were yummy!

#14. Jarlsberg Cheese.  Meeting Ronnie of the Burrell Group was like finding a long lost friend.  We only chatted for 15 minutes but she feels like a soul sista.

#13. The Blog Critiques.  The organizers had gentle and kind experts provide specific and helpful tips to improve our blogs.

#12.  Our Closer Look at Food Styling and Photography.  I will never afford the camera and equipment that Renee had at her disposal but Lisa, the stylist’s tools are every day things that I can slowly collect and will have an immediate impact on my photos.  Wow, was she a hard worker.

#11. Inspired Speakers.  I am newly refreshed with an “if they can do it, I can do it” attitude.  Thanks especially to Monica who spoke with passion and authenticity.

#10.  Pitching to the Pros.  I intend to take full advantage of the face to face relationships that were created with this opportunity.

#9.  Being in the presence of Blogger Royalty.  CopyKat, WickedNoodle, 52 Kitchen Adventures, the long list was so impressive!

#8. The OXO Kitchen Challenge.  I learned how to use all kinds of new gadgets.  Our team didn’t come first, but I think I won because I got to work side by side with new friends.

#7.  Who knew watermelon was so versatile?  We made an amazing watermelon/kiwi salsa and I also got to taste watermelon jam-oh my!

#6.  Earthy Mushrooms.  We stuffed lightly sauteed mushrooms into our quesadillas for the OXO challenge.  They offset the fresh, crisp tastes of the salsa with their meaty flavour.

5. The Volunteers.  They were all insightful bloggers in their own right and so hospitable.  Our every whim, was their desire.

4.  The Schwag!  I split the sides of my suitcase with OXO gadgets, three gorgeous new cookbooks AND a multi-attachment Calphalon hand-held blender.

#3.  My roommie Lynn, the creator of  I was old enough to be her Mom, but we got along famously.

#2.  The other scholarship winners from Canada Beef.  I had the pleasure of visiting with Jenn from when we shared a cab to the airport.  Lovely ladies-both of them.

And the #1 reason. Casey & Robyn.  The founders of Eat Write Retreat are total class in every single way.

Kath’s quote: “One can never know too much; the more one learns, the more one sees the need to learn more and that study as well as broadening the mind of the craftsman provides an easy way of perfecting yourself in the practice of your art.”  –Auguste Escoffier


Top 10 Hot Trends


I am away and am posting this remotely (so sorry that there are no photos) but I thought you might be interested inthese 10 Hot Trends form the : CRFA’s Canadian Chef Survey

1.  Locally produced food and locally inspired dishes

2.  Sustainability

3.  Nutrition and health

4.  Organics

5.  Simplicity/back to basics

6.  Gluten-free/food allergy conscious

7.  Craft beer/microbreweries

8.  Artisans cheese

9.  Bite size/mini-desserts

10.  Quinoa/ancient grains

Flowers of Ireland


Kaths quote: “How many flowers there are which only serve to produce essences, which could have been made into savory dishes.”-Charles Pierre Monselet

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Trees of Ireland


Kaths quote: “Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing ‘Embraceable You’ in spats.”-Woody Allen

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