Monday, May 31, 2010

berry bento and route 29 diner visit

 The heat was rising this morning when we arrived at the 29 Diner in Fairfax for a late breakfast; green and orange tendriled trumpet vines behind the diner had the humid, lush look of a Virginia summer:
The 29 Diner has been in Fairfax since 1947, a charming place with a wonderfully "old school" menu. Today they served up perfect Western omelets and crisp-tender home fries:
Tuesday's bento:
The top layer features a brown and wild rice pilaf with almonds and pistachios, lamb with artichoke and tomato and accents of mint and fresh oregano. The sweets sidecar holds a vanilla coconut cupcake (garnished with a wild strawberry-like fruit that appeared in the garden this year), lots of blueberries and a thick slice of kiwi.

Looking forward to your new creations this week, bento pals!

Friday, May 28, 2010

late may bento

Hello bento friends! Late May blooms including purple clematis, blue nikko hydrangea, and mint flowers accented today's bento, which contained broiled tilapia with cumin and coriander, a goat cheese heart with pistachios and mint, a heart shaped pita, a ripe apricot, oregano, mango, kiwi, green plums, and my new obsession, flowering chives!
The blue nikko hydrangea shrub has really grown in size this year...
Wishing everyone a wonderfully fun and relaxing weekend!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

foodie explorations

This will be a of potpourri of a post, covering some fun foodie activities since last Friday...

On Friday evening we had tickets to see Anthony Bourdain (and Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert) at the Warner Theater in D.C. For those unfamiliar with Bourdain, he hosts an always-interesting show called No Reservations in which he travels the world to explore its food cultures. 

As in our bento community, Bourdain sees food as a means of connection, a unity of pleasure and discovery amid the diversity of world food. Underneath a sometimes sharp and sardonic wit, he has a wonderfully sweet core: a kind of reverent joy in and deep respect for authentic cooking and those who participate in and extend its traditions...a spirit that illuminates the program and often takes it into meaningful and memorable territory.

These beautiful moments of culinary cross-cultural connection are what Jamison and I watch No Reservations for just as much as the amazing locales. OK, I also like to watch because Tony is not at all hard on the eyes (as the Warner Theater event confirmed, along with the great charm and good humor of both these guys). The evening was conducted in a lively interview style by a quick-witted DC radio personality...there was a huge amount of laughter throughout the high-spirited evening...we had a great time.
At the Saturday Farmer's Market, highlights included sweet peas and flowering chives:
Walking back home from the market, I pass a magical house with many sweet kitties that mill about its yard on pleasant days. Later in the season, a spectacular purple-pink Japanese hydrangea comes into bloom and creates a perfect little world. The cats seem to be related: pretty kitties in mixed ivories, orange and grays...always eager to greet and mingle:
On Sunday we headed into DC enjoy a French-themed lunch buffet at the National Gallery of Art. The NGA themes its weekend buffet to its major shows; right now, the Gallery's collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist French works is being celebrated with a special show...thus the tasty menu of Provencal vegetables, French cheeses, red wine chicken ragout, spinach quiche and other Gallic treats:
                             A favorite Matisse painting was part of the show:
Today's bento features a refreshing crab salad-lettuce wrap combo:
The crab salad contains crabmeat, chive stems and flowers, rice vinegar, scallions and a touch of mayo, tucked into tender butter lettuce leaves. Also in the bento: stir-fried red cabbage, carrot flowers, green plums and some lovely sweet potato bread from my friend Sharon, cut here into flower shapes.
Happy Wednesday, bento friends!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

new little dishes bento

 Hi bento friends! I'm finally unpacking goodies from my recent NYC visit, and based this bento on some new little dishes I found on my trip...had a great time combing Chinatown and other downtown locales for them!
Today's bento from the leafy green top: snow pea shoots, fennel and orange salad, Thai spicy braised eggplant, a brown rice, radish pickle and chili shrimp trio, and mochi with adzuki beans and some Persian grapes.

This pale pink "Eden" rose has a wonderfully delicate scent...
Friday's almost here--wishing you a happy one!