Friday, July 29, 2016

Dovecote Cafe

A brief metro ride to Penn North and an even quicker walk brought me to Dovecote Cafe. I almost missed it while walking as it blends so seamlessly into the rest of the historic Reservoir Hill neighborhood. The homey appeal of the cafe is paralleled by the incredibly welcoming and warm service offered as soon as you walk into the door. One of the first things you'll notice in your time here is the community vibe. It's not a place where you just come once- this is a place you go to, regularly.

My first experience with Dovecote was technically at the Whitelock Community farm stand a few Saturdays prior. I bought an incredible slice of peach upside down cake, which I ate a little more ravenously than I'm really ready to admit. 
Peep the li'l pup, Bacon, by the door. (Very interested in being his friend)
There's not exactly a written menu, but a knowledgeable friendly staff ready to make suggestions on the regular items and varying specials. A quick talk with Cole, led to this breakfast sandwich and potato combo. 

Give me a second here, I'm having meal flashbacks *wheeew*

You may hear them brag about their fresh brewed coffee more than the food, but I need y'all to get into this plate real quick. Whether to start with the fluffy scrambled eggs nestled between crunchy golden toast or the crispy potatoes was probably the most difficult decision following what to order. Besides being made fresh, the home fries didn't rely on salt for flavor; I could taste the carmelized onion with each bite. It's almost, almost, disappointing how filling this meal was because in the moment I was really inspired to order and experience more of their menu. By the way, this was under 7 bucks!
When a meal reminds me of the comforts of eating at home, it warms a lot more than my belly.

For people like me who really appreciate the minor details, I have a few notes:

1. I asked for ketchup & it came in a chilled metal container! This is actually a big deal. I always, always prefer it cold; hence I keep my ketchup in the fridge at home (fight me on this, I know someone will. I'm ready)

2. See that stack of napkins? Multiple! This is important. I have to wipe my mouth between bites as I can't enjoy my meal with the never ending fear that my face is covered in crumbs or sauce. Not only did I receive multiple, but they are pretty high quality. A lot of places give you the cheap kind that fall apart after a few wipes, but one held up through my entire meal. While one could have sufficed, I'm far more comforted mentally by the presence of more.

Without exaggerating my intentions of being a regular at this cafe, I came back the next day. This time I went for the spinach pie and an iced coffee. My javatone (a cute concept you'll discover upon your first visit!) is smidge, with almond milk. The pie was an actual pie crust, far surpassing my expectation of a phyllo situation. I could keep going on about all the reasons visiting Dovecote Cafe is a brillant idea, but I suggest you make your way over there and experience the food, service, and vibe for yourself.
Have you eaten here yet? How was your experience?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Summer's Day in South Philly

My cousin (& part time muse) and I decided to use her last day in town to make a day trip up to Philly from Baltimore. It started with a stop and guided tour at The Fabric Workshop & Museum.

There's a lot of emphasis on the work being temporary and constantly shifting. 
Ahh, btw. We were late getting back to my car by about 4 minutes, but just on time to see a ticket under the windshield wiper. Thanks, Philly,

After a bit of aimless driving we made our way to Philip's steaks for two cheese steaks with whiz, one with mayo, hot sauce, and ketchup (mine). The crusty sub roll was perfect down to the last sauce soaked bite.
Lunch was followed by a quick walk across the street to Dati's Homemade Water Ice.
I'd say the best part of our experience here was the incredibly warm service. It's got a very "I grew up down the street and used to stop here every other day vibe." Super welcoming. Inspired by one of the menu items, we asked the cashier for a suggestion on where a couple of newbies could get the best possible cannolis in town. That led us to Cafe Crema & to two original cannolis with ricotta italiana.
My standards for future cannoli consumption are incredibly high now.
Full & extremely satisfied we wandered our way through Little Italy & Little Mexico before making our tune-filled drive back to Baltimore. There's a lot of culture packed into these crowded corridors; I'm glad we could experience a taste of it.

Do you have any Philly hot spots you'd recommend?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Corn On The Cob

 I don't know why I thought it would be a good idea to fire up the grill Saturday morning 2 hours before I had work, but I'll chalk it up to being one of those days where I feel like I can accomplish everything that comes to mind as soon as it comes to mind. Can you blame me though? Look how heavenly this corn looks! The best part? It was grown locally & responsibly in Baltimore by the Real Food Farm.*Actually, it's not grown by the Real Food Farm, but it is made available on their mobile farmers' market, through one of their partnerships.* 
The longest part? It's not the cooking, more so the cleaning the grates & getting the charcoal to light. Kingsford burns for a long time, but that may just be because it feels like it takes forever to start. I don't cook the corn on full flame. I used the full flame for chicken wings & the residual heat from the barely smoldering ashes for a nice steady roast.
Someone please explain to me how corn cob holders are an actual commodified good when corn comes with holders built in??  

1. Peel back the husk to just below the base of the cob, but don't remove it! Wash away any left over silk from the corn
2. brush lightly with extra virgin olive oil
3. Sprinkle with Old Bay (like everything else cooked in MD), fresh cracked black pepper, & dried basil
4. Roast on low heat, rotating every 2-3 minutes, for about 8-10 minutes

When you see the individual kernels start to prune like your fingers in water, they're cooked! I like to let the corn get a bit more color before I enjoy it :)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Breakfast Burrito

I made this burrito one night after I got out of my scuba diving class. The fact that I even had the patience to snap photos along the way is still miraculous to me. If I can do that, you can make this anytime to enjoy.
I don't think there's much to really *teach* about this dish, but I will say this! Your guac needs lime juice -- there's no supplement for the flavor it provides while the acid simultaneously cuts through the creaminess of the avocado.
Successful scrambled eggs must be beat in a bowl prior to being poured in a low heated frying pan. I definitely have those quick (read: lazy) days where I just beat the eggs in the pan, but I go into that knowing I'm not expecting to eat incredibly fluffy scrambled eggs.
Foil paper does wonders to mask my lowly burrito folding skills. To be fair, this tortilla was a bit small for all that goodness; my efforts probably deserve some commendation.
I  don't have to use many words to tell you what came after this picture.

The Beauty in Baltimore

I spent the day showing my cousin around Baltimore. I did my best to avoid the typical tourists spots and instead showed her places I would be more likely to visit. Very local digs.
In the Garden






Until next time

Blue Fish On The Grill

~10 lbs
Fresh fish grilled outside is one of those simple summer pleasures you have to take advantage of when the weather is just right, not too hot or humid. Living near a port city makes it especially easy to get access to quality seafood on a regular basis. Again, take advantage! Today's catch: Pomatomus Saltatrix, or more simply Blue Fish. It's fitting that the name sounds straight out of a Dr. Suess book considering when seasoned and cooked properly, the flavor is out of this world.


Fresh food deserves fresh seasonings; I like to keep it simple. Starting with the bunch of greens in the corner and moving clockwise, we have cilantro, peeled ginger, lime (specifically the juice), garlic, and coconut milk. All of these go into a blender together with a half cup of water to create a complimentary basting sauce/marinade to use while grilling. The only dry seasonings I used were Old Bay (essential) & black pepper. I gave the fish a thorough coating of the dry rub and let it sit while firing up the grill.

I used a mix of apple wood chips and charcoal kept at a medium-low heat. Instead of putting the fish directly on the grates, lay down some aluminum foil and brush that with olive oil to keep the fish from sticking. The side that was going on the foil first, got a mopping of sauce so it would get seared into the skin. I roasted the fish on one side for 15 minutes before rotating to the other. Add sauce to the other side before flipping.

Once the flesh reached a tender white flakiness, I knew it was ready. Undercooked bluefish will have a pinkness to the bulk of it and not pull away from the bone easily. If you are new to cooking fish, I would suggest getting it sliced into steaks at the market to make it easier to see when it's cooked.


Fried ripe plantains are always my go-to side dish, especially for grilled fish. The combo reminds me of visiting a small beach town when I was back home in Cameroon. There's nothing quite like eating the fresh catch beach side and under the stars, but this meal comes pretty close.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Turkey Wing Sandwich


"You're going to need math in the future." True.
Not to full on brag, perhaps humble brag, but I make a mean sandwich. Garlic hummus (not pictured), sharp cheddar, jerk seasoned zucchini ribbons, baby spinach, arugula, and de-boned turkey wings all toasted together on sourdough makes for a whole lot of  "Mmm, yesss."

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Spaces & Places: Adventures In Catsitting

I can officially add house/ cat sitter to my repertoire. Obviously when my sister & her family went on vacation I jumped at the opportunity to spend a few days at her place taking care of her cat & making sure things went smoothly. My last morning there, I noticed the way sun bathed her space and complimented every piece laid out. I had to capture it.
Green Eyed Bandit taking in the summer breeze
She's a creative and that really shines through when you take in the interior as a whole. It's warm, welcoming, and most of all inspiring. I could see myself shooting some food pieces in her kitchen. Or curling up on her couch for a round of netflix and cat naps. Options. A well designed space gives you options.

Just a taste

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