Every holiday season we get together with some of our extended family, people who, more often than not, we see only once a year. Conversation is the catch-up kind. And while the details of the recent months are still vivid and easily recalled – and I know everyone wants to hear about how to navigate a successful (read champagne included) intermission at the Kennedy Center – months long-since past are, well, fuzzy. Sure, a few things stand out: an epically stunted start to a trip abroad; sleep lost and never regained during stressful weeks at work; the feeling of peace one finds on the shores of a lake in northern Norway. But the details, the nuances of the year, have faded away. So what was intended to be a simple compilation of this past year’s posts, turned into a serious memory jump-start, and included more than a few pleasant surprises. Celebrations that had dimmed a bit, recipes tried, trips taken, seasons enjoyed, and fun had. All in all, it might have been a long year, but it was a good one. If 2013 is anything like it, I can hardly complain. Here’s wishing you a joyous – and delicious – new year!
Looking back at 2012 -
We kicked off the year as part of the party at Rogue 24. And we learned a thing or two from Frankie upstairs at the Gibson. With February came a fireside obsession at the Inn at Perry Cabin. I decided to get into the Valentine’s Day spirit with some cake love while Ken indulged his love of duck confit in the best way possible. (pictures above)
Come spring friends indulged my entertaining whims with an afternoon soiree and we were lucky enough to enjoy a meal at home with Sidra. Perhaps it was a winter’s worth of indulgent meals, but we were also feeling the need to lighten things up a bit. So out came the spinach for breakfast. But Ken, crafty as he is, snuck in some cheese-stuffed roasted dates. True, I wasn’t complaining.
A long-anticipated trip to Charleston, SC, arrived in April, as did our excuse to indulge at Husk and Bin 152 all in the same day. As summer set in in the city, so did the picnics on the patio. To battle the hazy, hot summer days we did what anyone else would do – tossed together some summer cocktails and cooled down our coffee with cardamom affogato. Weekend trips brought us together with friends over tables at Whitehall, Sarabeth’s, not to mention some hometown brunch time at Boqueria. And excitement for food-related innovations in the city brought out some DC love.
And while the trip lasted no more than a week, we did our fair share of eating while on holiday in Rome and London. We discovered that muddling our way through Italian was well worth it if the reward was dinner at al Moro. And while reconnecting with old friends in London – and following recommendations from new ones – we covered some delicious and low-key culinary ground at La Fromagerie, the Grazing Goat, Ducksoup, and Canteen.
We squeezed some adventure into the final months of summer. While Ken thought the trip would be all work he was surprised by some delights in Israel, including the at-home restaurant Spoons and a vineyard set in the precarious lands of the Golan Heights. I ventured north of the arctic circle for the most activity-packed three and a half days I’ve ever had, but trading sleep for learning how to forage for mushrooms and catch fish for breakfast is always a good idea. But we learned that we don’t have to travel to such far-flung locations to enjoy a bit of adventure. Sometimes it comes to you: sharing tiny urban kitchens and staying out of the way of friends with sharp knives; a new food hall crammed to overflowing on opening day; or a night spent Outstanding in the Field.
No sooner had Labor Day arrived and I was ready to jump into autumn. Give us some cooler weather and fall celebrations and we’re ready for some comfort food: apple spice cake, lamb ragu, and the simplest chocolate mousse around. A pre-Thanksgiving gathering of friends started off the chain of celebrations in November and December. Pies dominated, as usual, at Thanksgiving and we revisited some old favorites for the holiday: reindeer gingerbread and bacon puree anyone?
Not together. Obviously.
Happy 2013 friends!